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Full text of "The Waverley novels"

presented to 

£be Xtbrarp 

of tbe 

Wmversitp of Toronto 

Mrs* J»S. Hart 



THE 

MELROSE 
EDITION 




OLIVER CROMWELL 
Engraved by W. Holl 




Woodstock 



Or 

The Cavalier 

A Tale of the Year Sixteen Hundred 
and Forty-One 

By 

Sir Walter Scott, Bart. 




Edinburgh 
T. C. ftf E. C. Jack 



PR 

v. ai 



WOODSTOCK 



CHAPTER I 

Some were for gospel ministers, 
And some for red-coat seculars, 
As men most fit t' hold forth the word, 
And wield the one and th' other sword. 

—Butler's Hudibras. 

XhERE is a handsome parish church in the town of Wood- 
stock, — I am told so, at least, for I never saw it, having scarce 
time, when at the place, to view the magnificence of Blenheim, 
its painted halls and tapestried bowers, and then return in due 

season to dine in hall with my learned friend, the provost of ; 

being one of those occasions on which a man wrongs himself 
extremely, if he lets his curiosity interfere with his punctuality. 
I had the church accurately described to me, with a view to 
this work ; but, as I have some reason to doubt whether my 
informant had ever seen the inside of it himself, I shall be 
content to say that it is now a handsome edifice, most part of 
which was rebuilt forty or fifty years since, although it still 
contains some arches of the old chantry, founded, it is said, by 
King John. It is to this more ancient part of the building that 
my story refers. 

On a morning in the end of September, or beginning of 
October, in the year 1652, being a day appointed for a solemn 
thanksgiving for the decisive victory at Worcester, a respect- 
able audience was assembled in the old chantry, or chapel of 
King John. The condition of the church and character of the 
audience both bore witness to the rage of civil war, and the 
peculiar spirit of the times. The sacred edifice showed many 
marks of dilapidation. The windows, once filled with stained 
glass, had been dashed to pieces with pikes and muskets, as 
matters of and pertaining to idolatry. The carving on the 
reading-desk was damaged, and two fair screens of beautiful 
sculptured oak had been destroyed, for the same pithy and 
conclusive reason. The high altar had been removed, and the 

A 



2 



WOODSTOCK 



gilded railing, which was once around it, was broken down and 
carried off. The effigies of several tombs were mutilated, and 
now lay scattered about the church, 

Torn from their destined niche — unworthy meed 
Of knightly counsel or heroic deed ! 

The autumn wind piped through empty aisles, in which the 
remains of stakes and trevisses of rough-hewn timber, as well 
as a quanity of scattered hay and trampled straw, seemed to 
intimate that the hallowed precincts had been, upon some late 
emergency, made the quarters of a troop of horse. 

The audience, like the building, was abated in splendour. 
None of the ancient and habitual worshippers during peaceful 
times, were now to be seen in their carved galleries, with hands 
shadowing their brows, while composing their minds to pray 
where their fathers had prayed, and after the same mode of 
worship. The eye of the yeoman and peasant sought in vain 
the tall form of old Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley, as, wrapped in 
his laced cloak, and with beard and whiskers duly composed, 
he moved slowly through the aisles, followed by the faithful 
mastiff, or bloodhound, which in old time had saved his master 
by his fidelity, and which regularly followed him to church. 
Bevis, indeed, fell under the proverb which avers, "He is a 
good dog which goes to church ; " for, bating an occasional 
temptation to warble along with the accord, he behaved himself 
as decorously as any of the congregation, and returned as much 
edified, perhaps, as most of them. The damsels of Woodstock 
looked as vainly for the laced cloaks, jingling spurs, slashed 
boots, and tall plumes, of the young cavaliers of this and 
other high-born houses, moving through the streets and the 
churchyard with the careless ease, which indicates perhaps 
rather an overweening degree of self-confidence, yet shows 
graceful when mingled with good-humour and courtesy. The 
good old dames, too, in their white hoods and black velvet 
gowns — their daughters, "the cynosure of neighbouring eyes," 
— where were they all now, who, when they entered the church, 
used to divide men's thoughts between them and Heaven ? 
" But, ah ! Alice Lee — so sweet, so gentle, so condescending 
in thy loveliness — [thus proceeds a contemporary annalist, whose 
manuscript we have deciphered] — why is my story to turn 
upon thy fallen fortunes ? and why not rather to the period 
when, in the very dismounting from your palfrey, you attracted 
as many eyes as if an angel had descended, — as many blessings 
as if the benignant being had come fraught with good tidings ? 
No creature wert thou of an idle romancer's imagination — no 
being fantastically bedizened with inconsistent perfections ; — thy 



WOODSTOCK 



3 



merits made me love thee well — and for thy faults — so well did 
they show amid thy good qualities, that I think they made me 
lvoe thee better." 

With the house of Lee had disappeared from the chantry of 
King John others of gentle blood and honoured lineage — 
Freemantles, Winklecombes, Drycotts, &c. ; for the air that 
blew over the towers of Oxford was unfavourable to the growth 
of Puritanism, which was more general in the neighbouring 
counties. There were among the congregation, however, one 
or two that, by their habits and demeanour, seemed country 
gentlemen of consideration, and there were also present some 
of the notables of the town of Woodstock, cutlers or glovers 
chiefly, whose skill in steel or leather had raised them to a 
comfortable livelihood. These dignitaries wore long black 
cloaks, plaited close at the neck, and, like peaceful citizens, 
carried their Bibles and memorandum-books at their girdles, in- 
stead of knife or sword.* This respectable, but least numerous 
part of the audience, were such decent persons as had adopted 
the Presbyterian form of faith, renouncing the liturgy and 
hierarchy of the Church of England, and living under the tuition 
of the Rev. Nehemiah Holdenough, much famed for the length 
and strength of his powers of predication. With these grave 
seniors sat their goodly dames in ruff and gorget, like the 
portraits which in catalogues of paintings are designed "wife 
of a burgomaster " ; and their pretty daughters, whose study, 
like that of Chaucer's physician, was not always in the Bible, 
but who were, on the contrary, when a glance could escape the 
vigilance of their honoured mothers, inattentive themselves, and 
the cause of inattention in others. 

But, besides these dignified persons, there were in the church 
a numerous collection of the lower orders, some brought thither 
by curiosity, but many of them unwashed artificers, bewildered 
in the theological discussions of the time, and of as many various 
sects as there are colours in the rainbow. The presumption of 
these learned Thebans being in exact proportion to their ignor- 
ance, the last was total and the first boundless. Their behaviour 
in the church was anything but reverential or edifying. Most 
of them affected a cynical contempt for all that was only held 
sacred by human sanction — the church was to these men but a 
steeple-house, the clergyman, an ordinary person ; her ordin- 
ances, dry bran and sapless pottage, unfitted for the spiritualised 
palates of the saints, and the prayer, an address to Heaven, to 
which each acceded or not as in his too critical judgment he 
conceived fit. 

* This custom among the Puritans is mentioned often in old plays, and 
among others in the Widow of Watling Street. 



4 



WOODSTOCK 



The elder amongst them sat or lay on the benches, with their 
high-steeple crowned hats pulled over their severe and knitted 
brows, waiting for the Presbyterian parson, as mastiffs sit in 
dumb expectation of the bull that is to be brought to the stake. 
The younger mixed, some of them, a bolder licence of manners 
with their heresies ; they gazed round on the women, yawned, 
coughed, and whispered, ate apples, and cracked nuts, as if in 
the gallery of a theatre ere the piece commences. 

Besides all these, the congregation contained a few soldiers, 
some in corselets and steel caps, some in buff, and others in red 
coats. These men of war had their bandoleers, with ammuni- 
tion, slung round them, and rested on their pikes and muskets. 
They, too, had their peculiar doctrines on the most difficult 
points of religion, and united the extravagances of enthusiasm 
with the most determined courage and resolution in the field. 
The burghers of Woodstock looked on these military saints with 
no small degree of awe ; for though not often sullied with deeds 
of plunder or cruelty, they had the power of both absolutely 
in their hands, and the peaceful citizen had no alternative, save 
submission to whatever the ill-regulated and enthusiastic imagi- 
nations of their martial guides might suggest. 

After some time spent in waiting for him, Mr. Holdenough 
began to walk up the aisles of the chapel, not with the slow 
and dignified carriage with which the old Rector was of yore 
wont to maintain the dignity of the surplice, but with a hasty 
step, like one who arrives too late at an appointment, and 
bustles forward to make the best use of his time. He was a 
tall thin man, with an adust complexion, and the vivacity of 
his eye indicated some irascibility of temperament. His dress 
was brown, not black, and over his other vestments he wore, in 
honour of Calvin, a Geneva cloak of a blue colour, which fell 
backwards from his shoulders as he posted on to the pulpit. 
His grizzled hair was cut as short as shears could perform the 
feat, and covered with a black silk skull-cap, which stuck so 
close to his head, that the two ears expanded from under it as 
if they had been intended as handles by which to lift the whole 
person. Moreover, the worthy divine wore spectacles, and a 
long grizzled peaked beard, and he carried in his hand a small 
pocket-Bible with silver clasps. Upon arriving at the pulpit, he 
paused a moment to take breath, then began to ascend the 
steps by two at a time. 

But his course was arrested by a strong hand, which seized 
his cloak. It was that of one who had detached himself from 
the group of soldiery. He was a stout man of middle stature, 
with a quick eye, and a countenance, which, though plain, had 
yet an expression that fixed the attention. His dress, though 
not strictly military, partook of that character. He wore large 



WOODSTOCK 



5 



hose made of calves-leather, and a tuck, as it was then called, 
or rapier, of tremendous length, balanced on the other side by 
a dagger. The belt was morocco, garnished with pistols. 

The minister, thus intercepted in his duty, faced round upon 
the party who had seized him, and demanded, in no gentle tone, 
the meaning of the interruption. 

"Friend," quoth the intruder, "is it thy purpose to hold 
forth to these good people ? " 

"Ay, marry is it," said the clergyman, "and such is my 
bounden duty. Woe to me if I preach not the gospel — 
Prithee, friend, let me not in my labour " 

" Nay," said the man of warlike mien, " I am myself minded 
to hold forth ; therefore, do thou desist, or if thou wilt do by 
mine advice, remain and fructify with those poor goslings, to 
whom I am presently about to shake forth the crumbs of 
comfortable doctrine." 

"Give place, thou man of Satan," said the priest, waxing 
wroth, "respect mine order — my cloth." 

" I see no more to respect in the cut of thy cloak, or in the 
cloth of which it is fashioned," said the other, "than thou didst 
in the Bishop's rochets — they were black and white, thou art 
blue and brown. Sleeping dogs every one of you, lying down, 
loving to slumber — shepherds that starve the flock but will not 
watch it, each looking to his own gain — hum." 

Scenes of this indecent kind were so common at the time, 
that no one thought of interfering; the congregation looked 
on in silence, the better class scandalised, and the lower orders, 
some laughing, and others backing the soldier or minister as 
their fancy dictated. Meantime the struggle waxed fiercer ; 
Mr. Holdenough clamoured for assistance. 

" Master Mayor of Woodstock," he exclaimed, " wilt thou be 
among those wicked magistrates who bear the sword in vain ? 
— Citizens, will you not help your pastor ? — Worthy Aldermen, 
will you see me strangled on the pulpit stairs by this man of 
buff and Belial ? — But lo, I will overcome him, and cast his 
cords from me." 

As Holdenough spoke, he struggled to ascend the pulpit 
stairs, holding hard on the banisters. His tormentor held fast 
by the skirts of the cloak, which went nigh to the choking of 
the wearer, until, as he spoke the words last mentioned, in a 
half-strangled voice, Mr. Holdenough dexterously slipped the 
string which tied it round his neck, so that the garment 
suddenly gave way ; the soldier fell backwards down the steps, 
and the liberated divine skipped into the pulpit, and began to 
give forth a psalm of triumph over his prostrate adversary. But 
a great hubbub in the church marred his exultation, and although 
he and his faithful clerk continued to sing the hymn of victory, 



6 



WOODSTOCK 



their notes were only heard by fits, like the whistle of a curlew 
during a gale of wind. 

The cause of the tumult was as follows : — The Mayor was a 
zealous Presbyterian, and witnessed the intrusion of the soldier 
with great indignation from the very beginning, though he 
hesitated to interfere with an armed man while on his legs 
and capable of resistance. But no sooner did he behold the 
champion of independency sprawling on his back, with the 
divine's Geneva cloak fluttering in his hands, than the magis- 
trate rushed forward, exclaiming that such insolence was not to 
be endured, and ordered his constables to seize the prostrate 
champion, proclaiming in the magnanimity of wrath, " I will 
commit every red-coat of them all — I will commit him were 
he Noll Cromwell himself!" 

The worthy Mayor's indignation had overmastered his reason 
when he made this mistimed vaunt ; for three soldiers, who 
had hitherto stood motionless like statues, made each a stride 
in advance, which placed them betwixt the municipal officers 
and the soldier, who was in the act of rising ; then making at 
once the movement of resting arms according to the manual 
as then practised, their musket-buts rang on the church pave- 
ment, within an inch of the gouty toes of Master Mayor. The 
energetic magistrate, whose efforts in favour of order were thus 
checked, cast one glance on his supporters, but that was enough 
to show him that force was not on his side. All had shrunk 
back on hearing that ominous clatter of stone and iron. He 
was obliged to descend to expostulation. 

" What do you mean, my masters ? " said he ; " is it like a 
decent and God-fearing soldiery, who have wrought such things 
for the land as have never before been heard of, to brawl and 
riot in the church, or to aid, abet, and comfort a profane fellow, 
who hath, upon a solemn thanksgiving, excluded the minister 
from his own pulpit?" 

"We have nought to do with thy church, as thou call'st it," 
said he who, by a small feather in front of his morion, appeared 
to be the corporal of the party; — "we see not why men of 
gifts should not be heard within these citadels of superstition, 
as well as the voice of the men of crape of old, and the men of 
cloak now. Wherefore, we will pluck yon Jack Presbyter out 
of his wooden sentinel-box, and our own watchman shall relieve 
the guard, and mount thereon, and cry aloud and spare not." 

"Nay, gentlemen," said the Mayor, "if such be your pur- 
pose, we have not the means to withstand you, being, as you 
see, peaceful and quiet men — But let me first speak with this 
worthy minister, Nehemiah Holdenough, to persuade him to 
yield up his place for the time without farther scandal." 

The peace-making Mavor then interrupted the quavering of 



WOODSTOCK 7 

Holdenough and the clerk, and prayed both to retire, else there 
would, he said, be certainly strife. 

" Strife ! " replied the Presbyterian divine, with scorn ; " no 
fear of strife among men that dare not testify against this 
open profanation of the Church and daring display of heresy. 
Would your neighbours of Banbury have brooked such an 
insult ? " 

"Come, come, Master Holdenough," said the Mayor, "put us 
not to mutiny and cry Clubs. I tell you once more, we are 
not men of war or blood." 

"Not more than may be drawn by the point of a needle," 
said the preacher scornfully. — " Ye tailors of Woodstock ! — for 
what is a glover but a tailor working on kidskin ? — I forsake 
you, in scorn of your faint hearts and feeble hands, and will 
seek me elsewhere a flock which will not fly from their shepherd 
at the braying of the first wild ass which cometh from out the 
great desert." 

So saying, the aggrieved divine departed from his pulpit, and 
shaking the dust from his shoes, left the church as hastily as he 
had entered it, though with a different reason for his speed. 
The citizens saw his retreat with sorrow, and not without a 
compunctious feeling, as if conscious that they were not playing 
the most courageous part in the world. The Mayor himself and 
several others left the church, to follow and appease him. 

The Independent orator, late prostrate, was now triumphant, 
and inducting himself into the pulpit without farther ceremony, 
he pulled a Bible from his pocket, and selected his text from 
the forty-fifth psalm, — " Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most 
mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty : and in thy majesty 
ride prosperously." — Upon this theme, he commenced one of 
those wild declamations common at the period, in which men 
were accustomed to wrest and pervert the language of Scripture, 
by adapting it to modern events. The language which, in its 
literal sense, was applied to King David, and typically referred 
to the coming of the Messiah, was, in the opinion of the military 
orator, most properly to be interpreted of Oliver Cromwell, the 
victorious general of the infant Commonwealth, which was never 
destined to come of age. "Gird on thy sword !" exclaimed the 
preacher emphatically ; " and was not that a pretty bit of steel 
as ever dangled from a corselet, or rung against a steel saddle ? 
Ay, ye prick up your ears now, ye cutlers of Woodstock, as if 
ye should know something of a good fox broadsword — Did you 
forge it, I trow ? — was the steel quenched with water from 
Rosamond's well, or the blade blest by the old cuckoldy priest 
of Godstow? You would have us think, I warrant me, that 
you wrought it and welded it, grinded and polished it, and all 
the while it never came on a Woodstock stithy 1 You were 



8 



WOODSTOCK 



all too busy making whittles for the lazy crape-men of Oxford, 
bouncing priests, whose eyes were so closed up with fat, that 
they could not see Destruction till she had them by the throat. 
But I can tell you where the sword was forged, and tempered, 
and welded, and grinded, and polished. When you were, as I 
said before, making whittles for false priests, and daggers for 
dissolute G — d d — n-me cavaliers, to cut the people of England's 
throat with — it was forged at Long Marston Moor, where blows 
went faster than ever rung hammer on anvil — and it was 
tempered at Naseby, in the best blood of the cavaliers — and it 
was welded in Ireland against the walls of Drogheda — and it 
was grinded on Scottish lives at Dunbar — and now of late it was 
polished in Worcester, till it shines as bright as the sun in the 
middle heaven, and there is no light in England that shall 
come nigh unto it." 

Here the military part of the congregation raised a hum of 
approbation, which, being a sound like the " hear, hear " of the 
British House of Commons, was calculated to heighten the 
enthusiasm of the orator, by intimating the sympathy of the 
audience. tf And then," resumed the preacher, rising in energy 
as he found that his audience partook in these feelings, "what 
saith the text ? — Ride on prosperously — do not stop — do not 
call a halt — do not quit the saddle — pursue the scattered fliers 
• — sound the trumpet — not a levant or a flourish, but a point 
of war — sound, boot and saddle — to horse and away — a charge ! 
— follow after the young Man ! — what part have we in him ? — 
Slay, take, destroy, divide the spoil ! Blessed art thou, Oliver, 
on account of thine honour — thy cause is clear, thy call is 
undoubted — never has defeat come near thy leading-staff, nor 
disaster attended thy banner. Ride on, flower of England's 
soldiers ! ride on, chosen leader of God's champions ! gird up 
the loins of thy resolution, and be steadfast to the mark of thy 
high calling ! " 

Another deep and stern hum, echoed by the ancient embow'd 
arches of the old chantry, gave him an opportunity of an 
instant's repose ; when the people of Woodstock heard him, 
and not without anxiety, turn the stream of his oratory into 
another channel. 

"But wherefore, ye people of Woodstock, do I say these 
things to you, who claim no portion in our David, no interest 
in England's son of Jesse ? — You, who were fighting as well 
as your might could (and it was not very formidable) for the 
late Man, under that old bloodthirsty papist Sir Jacob Aston 
— are you not now plotting, or ready to plot, for the restoring, 
as ye call it, of the young Man, the unclean son of the 
slaughtered tyrant — the fugitive after whom the true hearts 
of England are now following, that they may take and slay 



WOODSTOCK 



9 



him ? — * Why should your rider turn his bridle our way ? ' say 
you in your hearts ; ' we will none of him ; if we may help 
ourselves, we will rather turn us to wallow in the mire of 
monarchy, with the sow that was washed but newly.' Come, 
men of Woodstock, I will ask, and do you answer me. Hunger 
ye still after the flesh-pots of the monks of Godstow ? and ye 
will say, Nay ; — but wherefore, except that the pots are cracked 
and broken, and the fire is extinguished wherewith thy oven 
used to boil ? And again, I ask, drink ye still of the well ot 
the fornications of the fair Rosamond ? — ye will say, Nay ; 
— but wherefore ? " — 

Here the orator, ere he could answer the question in his own 
way, was surprised by the following reply, very pithily pro- 
nounced by one of the congregation : — " Because you, and the 
like of you, have left us no brandy to mix with it." 

All eyes turned to the audacious speaker, who stood beside 
one of the thick sturdy Saxon pillars, which he himself some- 
what resembled, being short of stature, but very strongly made, 
a squat broad Little John sort of figure, leaning on a quarter- 
staff, and wearing a jerkin, which, though now sorely stained 
and discoloured, had once been of the Lincoln green, and showed 
remnants of having been laced. There was an air of careless, 
good-humoured audacity about the fellow ; and, though under 
military restraint, there were some of the citizens who could 
not help crying out, — " Well said, Joceline Joliffe ! " 

"Jolly Joceline, call ye him ?" proceeded the preacher, with- 
out showing either confusion or displeasure at the interruption, 
— "I will make him Joceline of the jail, if he interrupts me 
again. One of your park-keepers, I warrant, that can never 
forget they have borne C. R. upon their badges and bugle-horns, 
even as a dog bears his owner's name on his collar — a pretty 
emblem for Christian men ! But the brute beast hath the 
better of him, — the brute weareth his own coat, and the caitiff 
thrall wears his master's. I have seen such a wag make a 
rope's end wag ere now. — Where was I ? — Oh, rebuking you 
for your backslidings, men of Woodstock. — Yes, then ye will 
say ye have renounced Popery, and ye have renounced Prelacy, 
and then ye wipe your mouth like Pharisees, as ye are; and 
who but you for purity of religion ! But, I tell you, ye are 
but like Jehu the son of Nimshi, who broke down the house 
of Baal, yet departed not from the sins of Jeroboam. Even so 
ye eat not fish on Friday with the blinded Papists, nor minced- 
pies on the 25th day of December, like the slothful Prelatists ; 
but ye will gorge on sack-posset each night in the year with 
your blind Presbyterian guide, and ye will speak evil of dig- 
nities, and revile the Commonwealth ; and ye will glorify 
yourselves in your park of Woodstock, and say, 'Was it not 



IO 



WOODSTOCK 



walled in first of any other in England, and that by Henry, 
son of William called the Conqueror ? ' And ye have a princely 
Lodge therein, and call the same a Royal Lodge ; and ye have 
an oak which ye call the King's oak ; and ye steal and eat 
the venison of the park, and ye say, ' This is the king's venison, 
we will wash it down with a cup to the king's health — better 
we eat it than those round-headed commonwealth knaves.' 
But listen unto me, and take warning. For these things come 
we to controversy with you. And our name shall be a cannon- 
shot, before which your Lodge, in the pleasantness whereof ye 
take pastime, shall be blown into ruins ; and we will be as a 
wedge to split asunder the King's Oak into billets to heat a 
brown baker's oven ; and we will dispark your park, and slay 
your deer, and eat them ourselves, neither shall you have any 
portion thereof, whether in neck or haunch. Ye shall not haft 
a tenpenny knife with the horns thereof, neither shall ye cut a 
pair of breeches out of the hide, for all ye be cutlers and 
glovers ; and ye shall have no comfort or support neither from 
the sequestered traitor Henry Lee, who called himself Ranger 
of Woodstock, nor from any on his behalf ; for they are coming 
hither who shall be called Mahar-shalal-hash-baz, because he 
maketh haste to the spoil." 

Here ended this wild effusion, the latter part of which fell 
heavy on the souls of the poor citizens of Woodstock, as tending 
to confirm a report of an unpleasing nature which had been 
lately circulated. The communication with London was indeed 
slow, and the news which it transmitted were uncertain; no 
less uncertain were the times themselves, and the rumours which 
were circulated, exaggerated by the hopes and fears of so many 
various factions. But the general stream of report, so far as 
Woodstock was concerned, had of late run uniformly in one 
direction. Day after day they had been informed, that the 
fatal fiat of Parliament had gone out, for selling the park of 
Woodstock, destroying its lodge, disparking its forest, and erasing, 
as far as they could be erased, all traces of its ancient fame. 
Many of the citizens were likely to be sufferers on this occasion, 
as several of them enjoyed, either by sufferance or right, various 
convenient privileges of pasturage, cutting firewood, and the 
like, in the royal chase ; and all the inhabitants of the little 
borough were hurt to think, that the scenery of the place was 
to be destroyed, its edifices ruined, and its honours rent away. 
This is a patriotic sensation often found in such places, which 
ancient distinctions and long-cherished recollections of former 
days, render so different from towns of recent date. The natives 
of Woodstock felt it in the fullest force. They had trembled 
at the anticipated calamity ; but now, when it was announced 
by the appearance of those dark, stern, and at the same time 



WOODSTOCK 1 1 

omnipotent soldiers — now that they heard it proclaimed by the 
mouth of one of their military preachers — they considered their 
fate as inevitable. The causes of disagreement among them- 
selves were for the time forgotten, as the congregation, dismissed 
without psalmody or benediction, went slowly and mournfully 
homeward, each to his own place of abode. 



CHAPTER II 

Come forth, old man — Thy daughter's side 

Is now the fitting place for thee : 
When time hath quell'd the oak's bold pride, 

The youthful tendril yet may hide 
The ruins of the parent tree. 

When the sermon was ended, the military orator wiped his 
brow ; for, notwithstanding the coolness of the weather, he was 
heated with the vehemence of his speech and action. He then 
descended from the pulpit, and spoke a word or two to the 
corporal who commanded the party of soldiers, who, replying 
by a sober nod of intelligence, drew his men together, and 
marched them in order to their quarters in the town. 

The preacher himself, as if nothing extraordinary had hap- 
pened, left the church and sauntered through the streets of 
Woodstock, with the air of a stranger who was viewing the 
town without seeming to observe that he was himself in his turn 
anxiously surveyed by the citizens, whose furtive yet frequent 
glances seemed to regard him as something alike suspected 
and dreadful, yet on no account to be provoked. He needed 
them not, but stalked on in the manner affected by the dis- 
tinguished fanatics of the day ; a stiff solemn pace, a severe 
and at the same time a contemplative look, like that of a man 
discomposed at the interruptions which earthly objects forced 
upon him, obliging him, by their intrusion to withdraw his 
thoughts for an instant from celestial things. Innocent pleasures 
of what kind soever they held in suspicion and contempt, and 
innocent mirth they abominated. It was, however, a cast of 
mind that formed men for great and manly actions, as it adopted 
principle, and that of an unselfish character, for the ruling 
motive, instead of the gratification of passion. Some of these 
men were indeed hypocrites, using the cloak of religion only as 
a covering for their ambition ; but many really possessed the 
devotional character, and the severe republican virtue, which 
others only affected. By far the greater number hovered 
between these extremes, felt to a certain extent the power of 
religion, and complied with the times in affecting a great deal. 



12 



WOODSTOCK 



The individual, whose pretensions to sanctity, written as they 
were upon his brow and gait, have given rise to the above 
digression, reached at length the extremity of the principal 
street, which terminates upon the park of Woodstock. A battle- 
mented portal of Gothic appearance defended the entrance to 
the avenue. It was of mixed architecture, but on the whole, 
though composed of the styles of the different ages when it had 
received additions, had a striking and imposing effect. An 
immense gate, composed of rails of hammered iron, with many 
a flourish and scroll, displaying as its uppermost ornament the 
ill-fated cipher of C. R., was now decayed, being partly wasted 
with rust, partly by violence. 

The stranger paused, as if uncertain whether he should de- 
mand or assay entrance. He looked through the grating down 
an avenue skirted by majestic oaks, which led onward with a 
gentle curve, as if into the depths of some ample and ancient 
forest. The wicket of the large iron gate being left un- 
wittingly open, the soldier was tempted to enter, yet with 
some hesitation, as he that intrudes upon ground which 
he conjectures may be prohibited — indeed his manner showed 
more reverence for the scene than could have been expected 
from his condition and character. He slackened his stately 
and consequential pace, and at length stood still, and looked 
around him. 

Not far from the gate, he saw rising from the trees one or 
two ancient and venerable turrets, bearing each its own vane 
of rare device glittering in the autumn sun. These indicated 
the ancient hunting-seat, or Lodge, as it was called, which had, 
since the time of Henry II., been occasionally the residence of 
the English monarchs, when it pleased them to visit the woods 
of Oxford, which then so abounded with game, that, according 
to old Fuller, huntsmen and falconers were nowhere better 
pleased. The situation which the Lodge occupied was a piece 
of flat ground, now planted with sycamores, not far from the 
entrance to that magnificent spot where the spectator first stops 
to gaze upon Blenheim, to think of Marlborough's victories, and 
to applaud or criticise the cumbrous magnificence of Vanbrugh's 
style. 

There, too, paused our military preacher, but with other 
thoughts, and for other purpose, than to admire the scene 
around him. It was not long afterwards when he beheld two 
persons, a male and a female, approaching slowly, and so deeply 
engaged in their own conversation that they did not raise their 
eyes to observe that there stood a stranger in the path before 
them. The soldier took advantage of their state of abstraction, 
and, desirous at once to watch their motions, and avoid their 
observation, he glided beneath one of the huge trees which 



WOODSTOCK 13 

skirted the path, and whose boughs, sweeping the ground on 
every side, ensured him against discovery, unless in case of an 
actual search. 

In the meantime, the gentleman and lady continued to ad- 
vance, directing their course to a rustic seat, which still enjoyed 
the sunbeams, and was placed adjacent to the tree where the 
stranger was concealed. 

The man was elderly, yet seemed bent more by sorrow and 
infirmity than by the weight of years. He wore a mourning 
cloak, over a dress of the same melancholy colour, cut in that 
picturesque form which Vandyck has rendered immortal. But 
although the dress was handsome, it was put on and worn with 
a carelessness which showed the mind of the wearer ill at ease. 
His aged, yet still handsome countenance, had the same air of 
consequence which distinguished his dress and his gait. A 
striking part of his appearance was a long white beard, which 
descended far over the breast of his slashed doublet, and looked 
singular from its contrast in colour with his habit. 

The young lady, by whom this venerable gentleman seemed 
to be in some degree supported as they walked arm in arm, was 
a slight and sylphlike form, with a person so delicately made, 
and so beautiful in countenance, that it seemed the earth on 
which she walked was too grossly massive a support for a creature 
so aerial. But mortal beauty must share human sorrows. The 
eyes of the beautiful being showed tokens of tears ; her colour 
was heightened as she listened to her aged companion ; and it 
was plain, from his melancholy yet displeased look, that the 
conversation was as distressing to himself as to her. When they 
sat down on the bench we have mentioned, the gentleman's 
discourse could be distinctly overheard by the eavesdropping 
soldier, but the answers of the young lady reached his ear rather 
less distinctly. 

" It is not to be endured ! " said the old man passionately ; 
" it would stir up a paralytic wretch to start up a soldier. My 
people have been thinned, I grant you, or have fallen off from 
me in these times — I owe them no grudge for it, poor knaves ; 
what should they do waiting on me when the pantry has no 
bread and the buttery no ale ? But we have still about us 
some rugged foresters of the old Woodstock breed — old as 
myself most of them — what of that ? old wood seldom warps in 
the wetting ; — I will hold out the old house, and it will not be 
the first time that I have held it against ten times the strength 
that we hear of now." 

"Alas! my dear father!" — said the young lady, in a tone 
which seemed to intimate his proposal of defence to be alto- 
gether desperate. 

" And why, alas ? " said the gentleman angrily ; " is it 



14 



WOODSTOCK 



because I shut my door against a score or two of these blood- 
thirsty hypocrites ? " 

" But their masters can as easily send a regiment or an army, 
if they will," replied the lady; "and what good would your 
present defence do, excepting to exasperate them to your utter 
destruction ? " 

" Be it so, Alice," replied her father ; u I have lived my time, 
and beyond it. I have outlived the kindest and most prince- 
like of masters. What do I do on the earth since the dismal 
thirtieth of January ? The parricide of that day was a signal 
to all true servants of Charles Stewart to avenge his death, or 
die as soon after as they could find a worthy opportunity." 

" Do not speak thus, sir," said Alice Lee ; " it does not become 
your gravity and your worth to throw away that life which 
may yet be of service to your king and country, — it will not 
and cannot always be thus. England will not long endure the 
rulers which these bad times have assigned her. In the mean- 
while — [here a few words escaped the listener's ears] — and 
beware of that impatience, which makes bad worse." 

" Worse ? " exclaimed the impatient old man, " What can be 
worse ? Is it not at the worst already ? Will not these people 
expel us from the only shelter we have left — dilapidate what 
remains of royal property under my charge — make the palace 
of princes into a den of thieves, and then wipe their mouths 
and thank God, as if they had done an alms-deed ? " 

" Still," said his daughter, " there is hope behind, and I trust 
the King is ere this out of their reach — We have reason to 
think well of my brother Albert's safety." 

" Ay, Albert ! there again," said the old man in a tone of 
reproach ; " had it not been for thy entreaties I had gone to 
Worcester myself ; but I must needs lie here like a worthless 
hound when the hunt is up, when who knows what service I 
might have shown ? An old man's head is sometimes useful 
when his arm is but little worth. But you and Albert were so 
desirous that he should go alone — and now, who can say what 
has become of him ? " 

"Nay, nay, father," said Alice, "we have good hope that 
Albert escaped from that fatal day ; young Abney saw him a 
mile from the field." 

" Young Abney lied, I believe," said the father, in the same 
humour of contradiction — " Young Abney 's tongue seems 
quicker than his hands, but far slower than his horse's heels 
when he leaves the roundheads behind him. I would rather 
Albert's dead body were laid between Charles and Cromwell, 
than hear he fled as early as young Abney." 

"My dearest father," said the young lady, weeping as she 
spoke, " what can I say to comfort you ? " 



WOODSTOCK 



15 



"Comfort me, say'st thou, girl? I am sick of comfort — an 
honourable death, with the ruins of Woodstock for my monu- 
ment, were the only comfort to old Henry Lee. Yes, by the 
memory of my fathers ! I will make good the Lodge against 
these rebellious robbers." 

"Yet be ruled, dearest father," said the maiden, "and submit 
to that which we cannot gainsay. My uncle Everard " 

Here the old man caught at her unfinished words. " Thy 
uncle Everard, wench ! — Well, get on. — What of thy precious 
and loving uncle Everard ? " 

"Nothing, sir," she said, "if the subject displeases you." 

"Displeases me?" he replied, "why should it displease me? 
or if it did, why shouldst thou, or any one, affect to care about 
it ? What is it that hath happened of late years — what is it 
can be thought to happen that astrologer can guess at, which 
can give pleasure to us ? " 

" Fate," she replied, "may have in store the joyful restoration 
of our banished Prince." 

" Too late for my time, Alice," said the knight ; " if there be 
such a white page in the heavenly book, it will not be turned 
until long after my day. — But I see thou wouldst escape me. — 
In a word, what of thy uncle Everard ? " 

" Nay, sir," said Alice, " God knows I would rather be silent 
for ever, than speak what might, as you would take it, add to 
your present distemperature." 

"Distemperature ! " said her father; "Oh, thou art a sweet- 
lipped physician, and wouldst, I warrant me, drop nought but 
sweet balm and honey, and oil, on my distemperature — if that 
is the phrase for an old man's ailment, when he is well-nigh 
heart-broken. — Once more, what of thy uncle Everard ? " 

His last words were uttered in a high and peevish tone of 
voice ; and Alice Lee answered her father in a trembling and 
submissive tone. 

" I only meant to say, sir, that I am well assured that my 
uncle Everard, when we quit this place " 

" That is to say, when we are kicked out of it by crop-eared 
canting villains like himself. But on with thy bountiful uncle 
— what will he do ? — will he give us the remains of his 
worshipful and economical house-keeping, the fragments of a 
thrice-sacked capon twice a-week, and a plentiful fast on the 
other five days ? — Will he give us beds beside his half-starved 
nags, and put them under a short allowance of straw, that his 
sister's husband — that I should have called my deceased angel 
by such a name ! — and his sister's daughter, may not sleep on 
the stones ? Or will he send us a noble each, with a warning 
to make it last, for he had never known the ready-penny so 
hard to come by? Or what else will your uncle Everard do 



16 



WOODSTOCK 



for us ? Get us a furlough to beg ? Why, I can do that 
without him." 

"You misconstrue him much/' answered Alice, with more 
spirit than she had hitherto displayed ; " and would you but 
question your own heart, you would acknowledge — I speak 
with reverence — that your tongue utters what your better 
judgment would disown. My uncle Everard is neither a miser 
nor a hypocrite — neither so fond of the goods of this world 
that he would not supply our distresses amply, nor so wedded 
to fanatical opinions as to exclude charity for other sects beside 
his own." 

" Ay, ay, the Church of England is a sect with him, I doubt 
not, and perhaps with thee too, Alice," said the knight. 
"What is a Muggletonian, or a Ranter, or a Brownist, but a 
sectary ? and thy phrase places them all, with Jack Presbyter 
himself, on the same footing with our learned prelates and 
religious clergy ! Such is the cant of the day thou livest 
in, and why shouldst thou not talk like one of the wise 
virgins and psalm-singing sisters, since, though thou hast a 
profane old cavalier for a father, thou art own niece to pious 
uncle Everard ? " 

"If you speak thus, my dear father," said Alice, "what can I 
answer you ? Hear me but one patient word, and I shall have 
discharged my uncle Everard's commission." 

" Oh, it is a commission, then ? Surely, I suspected so 
much from the beginning — nay, have some sharp guess touch- 
ing, the ambassador also. — Come, madam, the mediator, do 
your errand, and you shall have no reason to complain of my 
patience." 

" Then, sir," replied his daughter, " my uncle Everard desires 
you would be courteous to the commissioners, who come here 
to sequestrate the parks and the property ; or, at least, heed- 
fully to abstain from giving them obstacle or opposition : it 
can, he says, do no good, even on your own principles, and it 
will give a pretext for proceeding against you as one in the 
worst degree of malignity, which he thinks may otherwise be 
prevented. Nay, he has good hope, that if you follow his 
counsel, the committee may, through the interest he possesses, 
be inclined to remove the sequestration of your estate on a 
moderate fine. Thus says my uncle ; and having communicated 
his advice, I have no occasion to urge your patience with farther 
argument." 

" It is well thou dost not, Alice," answered Sir Henry Lee in 
a tone of suppressed anger ; " for, by the blessed Rood, thou 
hast well-nigh led me into the heresy of thinking thee no 
daughter of mine. — Ah ! my beloved companion, who art now 
far from the sorrows and cares of this weary world, couldst 



WOODSTOCK 



i7 



thou have thought that the daughter thou didst clasp to thy 
bosom, would, like the wicked wife of Job, become a temptress 
to her father in the hour of affliction, and recommend to him 
to make his conscience truckle to his interest, and to beg back 
at the bloody hands of his master s, and perhaps his son's 
murderers, a wretched remnant of the royal property he has 
been robbed of! — Why, wench, if I must beg, think'st thou 
I will sue to those who have made me a mendicant ? No. I 
will never show my grey beard, worn in sorrow for my sovereign's 
death, to move the compassion of some proud sequestrator, who 
perhaps was one of the parricides. No. If Henry Lee must 
sue for food, it shall be of some sound loyalist like himself, who, 
having but half a loaf remaining, will not nevertheless refuse 
to share it with him. For his daughter, she may wander her 
own way, which leads her to a refuge with her wealthy round- 
head kinsfolk ; but let her no more call him father, whose 
honest indigence she has refused to share ! " 

"You do me injustice, sir," answered the young lady, with 
a voice animated yet faltering, "cruel injustice. God knows, 
your way is my way, though it lead to ruin and beggary ; and 
while you tread it, my arm shall support you while you will 
accept an aid so feeble." 

"Thou word'st me, girl," answered the old cavalier, "thou 
word'st me, as Will Shakspeare says — thou speakest of lending 
me thy arm; but thy secret thought is thyself to hang upon 
Markham Everard's." 

" My father, my father," answered Alice, in a tone of deep 
grief, "what can thus have altered your clear judgment and 
kindly heart ! — Accursed be these civil commotions ; not only 
do they destroy men's bodies, but they pervert their souls ; and 
the brave, the noble, the generous, become suspicious, harsh, 
and mean! Why upbraid, me with Markham Everard ? Have 
I seen or spoken to him since you forbid him my company, with 
terms less kind — I will speak it truly — than was due even to 
the relationship betwixt you ? Why think I would sacrifice to 
that young man my duty to you ? Know, that were I capable 
of such criminal weakness, Markham Everard were the first to 
despise me for it." 

She put her handkerchief to her eyes, but she could not hide 
her sobs, nor conceal the distress they intimated. The old man 
was moved. 

" I cannot tell," he said, " what to think of it. Thou seem'st 
sincere, and wert ever a good and kindly daughter — how thou 
hast let that rebel youth creep into thy heart I wot not; 
perhaps it is a punishment on me, who thought the loyalty of 
my house was like undefiled ermine. Yet here is a damned 
spot, and on the fairest gem of all — my own dear Alice. But 

B 



i8 



WOODSTOCK 



do not weep — we have enough to vex us. Where is it that 
Shakspeare hath it : — 

( Gentle daughter, 
Give even way unto my rough affairs ; 
Put you not on the temper of the times, 
Nor be, like them, to Percy troublesome.' " 

" I am glad/' answered the young lady, "to hear you quote 
your favourite again, sir. Our little jars are ever well-nigh 
ended when Shakspeare comes in play." 

" His book was the closet companion of my blessed master/' 
said Sir Henry Lee; "after the Bible (with reverence for 
naming them together), he felt more comfort in it than in any 
other ; and as I have shared his disease, why, it is natural I 
should take his medicine. Albeit, I pretend not to my master's 
art in explaining the dark passages ; for I am but a rude man, 
and rustically brought up to arms and hunting." 

"You have seen Shakspeare yourself, sir?" said the young 
lady. 

" Silly wench," replied the knight, " he died when I was a 
mere child — thou hast heard me say so twenty times ; but 
thou wouldst lead the old man away from the tender subject. 
{Veil, though I am not blind, I can shut my eyes and follow. 
Ben Jonson I knew, and could tell thee many a tale of our 
meetings at the Mermaid, where, if there was much wine, there 
was much wit also. We did not sit blowing tobacco in each 
other's faces, and turning up the whites of our eyes as we 
turned up the bottom of the wine-pot. Old Ben adopted me 
as one of his sons in the muses. I have shown you, have I not, 
the verses, ' To my much beloved son, the worshipful Sir Henry 
Lee of Ditchley, Knight and Baronet ? ' " 

" I do not remember them at present, sir," replied Alice. 

"I fear ye lie, wench," said her father; "but no matter — 
thou canst not get any more fooling out of me just now. 
The Evil Spirit hath left Saul for the present. We are now 
to think what is to be done about leaving Woodstock — or 
defending it ?" 

" My dearest father," said Alice, " can you still nourish a 
moment's hope of making good the place ?" 

" I know not, wench," replied Sir Henry ; " I would fain 
have a parting blow with them, 'tis certain — and who knows 
where a blessing may alight ? But then, my poor knaves that 
must take part with me in so hopeless a quarrel — that thought 
hampers me I confess." 

" Oh, let it do so, sir," replied Alice ; " there are soldiers in 
the town, and there are three regiments at Oxford ! " 

" Ah, poor Oxford ! " exclaimed Sir Henry, whose vacillating 



WOODSTOCK 



19 



state of mind was turned by a word to any new subject that 
was suggested, — "Seat of learning and loyalty ! these rude 
soldiers are unfit inmates for thy learned halls and poetical 
bowers ; but thy pure and brilliant lamp shall defy the foul 
breath of a thousand churls, were they to blow at it like Boreas. 
The burning bush shall not be consumed, even by the heat of 
this persecution." 

" True, sir," said Alice, " and it may not be useless to recol- 
lect, that any stirring of the royalists at this unpropitious 
moment will make them deal yet more harshly with the 
University, which they consider as being at the bottom of every- 
thing which moves for the King in these parts." 

"It is true, wench," replied the knight; "and small cause 
would make the villains sequestrate the poor remains which the 
civil wars have left to the colleges. That, and the risk of my 
poor fellows — Well ! thou hast disarmed me, girl. I will be as 
patient and calm as a martyr." 

" Pray God you keep your word, sir ! " replied his daughter ; 
"but you are ever so much moved at the sight of any of these 
men, that " 

"Would you make a child of me, Alice?" said Sir Henry. 
" Why, know you not that I can look upon a viper, or a toad, 
or a bunch of engendering adders, without any worse feeling 
than a little disgust? and though a roundhead, and especially 
a red-coat, are in my opinion more poisonous than vipers, more 
loathsome than toads, more hateful than knotted adders, yet 
can I overcome my nature so far, that should one of them 
appear at this moment, thyself should see how civilly I would 
entreat him." 

As he spoke, the military preacher abandoned his leafy screen, 
and stalking forward, stood unexpectedly before the old cavalier, 
who stared at him, as if he had thought his expressions had 
actually raised a devil. 

" Who art thou ? " at length said Sir Henry, in a raised and 
angry voice, while his daughter clung to his arm in terror, 
little confident that her father's pacific resolutions would abide 
the shock of this unwelcome apparition. 

"I am one," replied the soldier, "who neither fear nor 
shame to call myself a poor day-labourer in the great work of 
England — umph ! — Ay, a simple and sincere upholder of the 
good old cause." 

" And what the devil do you seek here ? " said the old knight 
fiercely. 

"The welcome due to the steward of the Lords Commis- 
sioners," answered the soldier. 

"Welcome art thou as salt would be to sore eyes," said the 
cavalier ; u but who be your Commissioners, man ? " 



20 



WOODSTOCK 



The soldier with little courtesy held out a scroll, which Sir 
Henry took from him betwixt his finger and thumb, as if it 
were a letter from a pest-house ; and held it at as much dis- 
tance from his eyes, as his purpose of reading it would permit. 
He then read aloud, and as he named the parties one by one, 
he added a short commentary on each name, addressed, indeed, 
to Alice, but in such a tone that showed he cared not for its 
being heard by the soldier. 

"Desborough — the ploughman Desborough — as grovelling a 
clown as is in England — a fellow that would be best at home 
like an ancient Scythian, under the tilt of a waggon — -d — n him. 
Harrison — a bloody-minded, ranting enthusiast, who read the 
Bible to such purpose, that he never lacked a text to justify a 
murder — d — n him too. Bletson — a true-blue Commonwealth's 
man, one of Harrison's Rota Club, with his noddle full of new- 
fangled notions about government, the clearest object of which 
is to establish the tail upon the head ; a fellow who leaves you 
the statutes and law of old England, to prate of Rome and 
Greece — sees the Areopagus in Westminster Hall, and takes old 
Noll for a Roman consul — Adad, he is like to prove a dictator 
amongst them instead. Never mind — d — n Bletson too." 

" Friend," said the soldier, " I would willingly be civil, but it 
consists not with my duty to hear these godly men, in whose 
service I am, spoken of after this irreverent and unbecoming 
fashion. And albeit I know that you malignants think you have 
a right to make free with that damnation, which you seem to 
use as your own portion, yet it is superfluous to invoke it against 
others, who have better hopes in their thoughts, and better 
words in their mouths." 

" Thou art but a canting varlet," replied the knight ; " and 
yet thou are right in some sense — for it is superfluous to curse 
men who already are damned as black as the smoke of hell 
itself." 

" I prithee forbear," continued the soldier, (t for manners' sake, 
if not for conscience — grisly oaths suit ill with greybeards." 

"Nay, that is truth, if the devil spoke it," said the knight; 
" and I thank Heaven I can follow good counsel, though old 
Nick gives it. And so, friend, touching these same Commis- 
sioners, bear them this message ; that Sir Henry Lee is keeper 
of Woodstock Park, with right of waif and stray, vert and venison, 
as complete as any of them have to their estate — that is, if they 
possess any estate but what they have gained by plundering 
honest men. Nevertheless, he will give place to those who 
have made their might their right, and will not expose the lives 
of good and true men, where the odds are so much against them. 
And he protests that he makes this surrender, neither as ac- 
knowledging of these so termed Commissioners, nor as for his 



WOODSTOCK 



21 



own individual part fearing their force, but purely to avoid the 
loss of English blood, of which so much hath been spilt in these 
late times." 

" It is well spoken," said the steward of the Commissioners ; 
" and therefore, I pray you, let us walk together into the house, 
that you may'st deliver up unto me the vessels, and gold and 
silver ornaments, belonging unto the Egyptian Pharaoh, who 
committed them to thy keeping." 

" What vessels ? " exclaimed the fiery old knight ; " and be- 
longing to whom ? Unbaptized dog, speak civil of the Martyr 
in my presence, or I will do a deed misbecoming of me on that 
caitiff corpse of thine ! " — And shaking his daughter from his 
right arm, the old man laid his hand on his rapier. 

His antagonist, on the contrary, kept his temper completely, 
and waving his hand to add impression to his speech, he said, 
with a calmness which aggravated Sir Henry's wrath, " Nay, 
good friend, I prithee be still, and brawl not — it becomes not 
grey hairs and feeble arms to rail and rant like drunkards. Put 
me not to use the carnal weapon in mine own defence, but listen 
to the voice of reason. See'st thou not that the Lord hath 
decided this great controversy in favour of us and ours, against 
thee and thine ? Wherefore, render up thy stewardship peace- 
fully, and deliver up to me the chattels of the Man, Charles 
Stewart." 

" Patience is a good nag, but she will bolt," said the knight, 
unable longer to rein in his wrath. He plucked his sheathed 
rapier from his side, struck the soldier a severe blow with it, 
and instantly drawing it, and throwing the scabbard over the 
trees, placed himself in a posture of defence, with his sword's 
point within half a yard of the steward's body. The latter 
stepped back with activity, threw his long cloak from his 
shoulders, and drawing his long tuck, stood upon his guard. 
The swords clashed smartly together, while Alice, in her terror, 
screamed wildly for assistance. But the combat was of short 
duration. The old cavalier had attacked a man as cunning of 
fence as he himself, or a little more so, and possessing all the 
strength and activity of which time had deprived Sir Henry, 
and the calmness which the other had lost in his passion. They 
had scarce exchanged three passes ere the sword of the knight 
flew up in the air, as if it had gone in search of the scabbard ; 
and, burning with shame and anger, Sir Henry stood disarmed, 
at the mercy of his antagonist. The republican showed no 
purpose of abusing his victory ; nor did he, either during the 
combat, or after the victory was won, in any respect alter the 
sour and grave composure which reigned upon his countenance 
— a combat of life and death seemed to him a thing as familiar, 
and as little to be feared, as an ordinary bout with foils. 



22 



WOODSTOCK 



"Thou art delivered into my hands," he said, "and by the 
law of arms I might smite thee under the fifth rib, even as 
Asahel was struck dead by Abner, the son of Ner, as he followed 
the chase on the hill of Ammahj that lieth before Giah, in the 
way of the wilderness of Gibeon ; but far be it from me to spill 
thy remaining drops of blood. True it is, thou art the captive 
of my sword and of my spear ; nevertheless, seeing that there 
may be a turning from thine evil ways, and a returning to those 
which are good, if the Lord enlarge thy date for repentance and 
amendment, wherefore should it be shortened by a poor sinful 
mortal, who is, speaking truly, but thy fellow-worm ? " 

Sir Henry Lee remained still confused, and unable to answer, 
when there arrived a fourth person, whom the cries of Alice 
had summoned to the spot. This was Joceline JolifFe, one of 
the under-keepers of the walk, who, seeing how matters stood, 
brandished his quarterstaff, a weapon from which he never 
parted, and having made it describe the figure of eight in a 
flourish through the air, would have brought it down with a 
vengeance upon the head of the steward, had not Sir Henry 
interposed. 

"We must trail bats now, Joceline — our time of shouldering 
them is past. It skills not striving against the stream — the 
devil rules the roast, and makes our slaves our tutors." 

At this moment another auxiliary rushed out of the thicket 
to the knight's assistance. It was a large wolf-dog, in strength 
a mastiff, in form and almost in fleetness a greyhound. Bevis 
was the noblest of the kind which ever pulled down a stag, 
tawny-coloured like a lion, with a black muzzle and black feet, 
just edged with a line of white round the toes. He was as 
tractable as he was strong and bold. Just as he was about to 
rush upon the soldier, the words, " Peace, Bevis ! " from Sir 
Henry, converted the lion into a lamb, and, instead of pulling 
the soldier down, he walked round and round, and snuffed, as 
if using all his sagacity to discover who the stranger could be, 
towards whom, though of so questionable an appearance, he 
was enjoined forbearance. Apparently he was satisfied, for he 
laid aside his doubtful and threatening demonstrations, lowered 
his ears, smoothed down his bristles, and wagged his tail. 

Sir Henry, who had great respect for the sagacity of his 
favourite, said in a low voice to Alice, " Bevis is of thy opinion, 
and counsels submission. There is the finger of Heaven in this 
to punish the pride, ever the fault of our house. — Friend," he 
continued, addressing the soldier, "thou hast given the finish- 
ing touch to a lesson, which ten years of constant misfortune 
have been unable fully to teach me. Thou hast distinctly 
shown me the folly of thinking that a good cause can 
strengthen a weak arm. God forgive me for the thought, but 



WOODSTOCK 



23 



I could almost turn infidel, and believe that Heaven's blessing 
goes ever with the longest sword ; but it will not be always 
thus. God knows His time. — Reach me my Toledo, Joceline, 
yonder it lies ; and the scabbard, see where it hangs on the 
tree. — Do not pull at my cloak, Alice, and look so miserably 
frightened ; I shall be in no hurry to betake me to bright steel 
again, I promise thee. — For thee, good fellow, I thank thee, 
and will make way for thy masters without farther dispute or 
ceremony. Joceline JolifFe is nearer thy degree than I am, and 
will make surrender to thee of the Lodge and household stuff. 
— Withhold nothing, Joliffe — let them have all. For me, I will 
never cross the threshold again — but where to rest for a night ? 
I would trouble no one in Woodstock — hum — ay — it shall be 
so. Alice and I, Joceline, will go down to thy hut by Rosa- 
mond's well ; we will borrow the shelter of thy roof for one 
night at least ; thou wilt give us welcome, wilt thou not ? — 
How now— a clouded brow ?" 

Joceline certainly looked embarrassed, directed first a glance 
to Alice, then looked to Heaven, then to earth, and last to the 
four quarters of the horizon, and then murmured out, M Certainly 
— without question — might he but run down to put the house 
in order." 

" Order enough — order enough — for those that may soon be 
glad of clean straw in a barn," said the knight ; " but if thou 
hast an ill-will to harbour any obnoxious or malignant persons, 
as the phrase goes, never shame to speak it out, man. 'Tis 
true, I took thee up when thou wert but a ragged Robin,* 
made a keeper of thee, and so forth. What of that ? Sailors 
think no longer of the wind than when it forwards them on 
the voyage — thy betters turn with the tide, why should not 
such a poor knave as thou ? " 

" God pardon your honour for your harsh judgment," said 
Joliffe. "The hut is yours, such as it is, and should be were 
it a king's palace, as I wish it were even for your honour's sake, 
and Mistress Alice's — only I could wish your honour would 
condescend to let me step down before, in case any neighbour 
be there — or — or — just to put matters something into order for 
Mistress Alice and your honour — just to make things something 
seemly and shapely." 

"Not a whit necessary," said the knight, while Alice had 
much trouble in concealing her agitation. " If thy matters 
are unseemly, they are fitter for a defeated knight — if they are 
unshapely, why, the liker to the rest of a world, which is all 
unshaped. Go thou with that man. — What is thy name, 
friend ? " 

* The keeper's followers in the New Forest are called in popular 
language ragged Eobins. 



24 



WOODSTOCK 



" Joseph Tomkins is my name in the flesh/' said the steward. 
{l Men call me Honest Joe, and Trusty Tomkins." 

" If thou hast deserved such names, considering what trade 
thou hast driven, thou art a jewel indeed/' said the knight ; 
"yet if thou hast not, never blush for the matter, Joseph, for 
if thou art not in truth honest, thou hast all the better chance 
to keep the fame of it — the title and the thing itself have long 
walked separate ways. Farewell to thee, — and farewell to fair 
Woodstock ! " 

So saying, the old knight turned round, and pulling his 
daughter's arm through his own, they walked onward into the 
forest, in the same manner in which they were introduced to 
the reader. 



CHAPTER III 

Now, ye wild blades, that make loose inns your stage, 
To vapour forth the acts of this sad age, 
Stout Edgehill fight, the Newberries and the West, 
And northern clashes, where you still fought best ; 
Your strange escapes, your dangers void of fear, 
When bullets flew between the head and ear, 
Whether you fought by Damme or the Spirit, 
Of you I speak. 

—Legend of Captain Jones. 

Joseph Tomkins and Joliffe the keeper remained for some time 
in silence, as they stood together looking along the path in 
which the figures of the knight of Ditchley and pretty Mistress 
Alice had disappeared behind the trees. They then gazed on 
each other in doubt, as men who scarce knew whether they 
stood on hostile or on friendly terms together, and were at a 
loss how to open a conversation. They heard the knight's 
whistle summon Bevis; but though the good hound turned his 
head and pricked his ears at the sound, yet he did not obey the 
call, but continued to snuff around Joseph Tomkins's cloak. 

" Thou art a rare one, I fear me," said the keeper, looking to 
his new acquaintance. " I have heard of men who have charms 
to steal both dogs and deer." 

" Trouble not thyself about my qualities, friend/' said Joseph 
Tomkins, "but bethink thee of doing thy master's bidding." 

Joceline did not immediately answer, but at length, as if in 
sign of truce, stuck the end of his quarterstaff upright in the 
ground, and leant upon it as he said gruffly, " So, my tough old 
knight, and you were at drawn bilbo, by way of afternoon service, 
sir preacher — Well for you I came not up till the blades were 
done jingling, or I had rung even-song upon your pate." 

The Independent smiled grimly as he replied, " Nay, friend, 



WOODSTOCK 



25 



it is well for thyself, for never should sexton have been better 
paid for the knell he tolled. Nevertheless, why should there be 
war betwixt us, or my hand be against thine ? Thou art but 
a poor knave, doing thy master's order, nor have I any desire 
that my own blood or thine should be shed touching this 
matter. — Thou art, I understand, to give me peaceful possession 
of the Palace of Woodstock, so called — though there is now no 
palace in England, no, nor shall be in the days that come after, 
until we shall enter the palace of the New Jerusalem, and the 
reign of the Saints shall commence on earth." 

" Pretty well begun already, friend Tomkins," said the 
keeper; "you are little short of being kings already upon the 
matter as it now stands ; and for your Jerusalem I wot not, but 
Woodstock is a pretty nest-egg to begin with. — Well, will you 
shog — will you on — will you take sasine and livery? — You 
heard my orders." 

" Umph — I know not," said Tomkins. u I must beware of 
ambuscades, and I am alone here. Moreover, it is the High 
Thanksgiving appointed by Parliament, and owned to by the 
army — also the old man and the young woman may want to 
recover some of their clothes and personal property, and I 
would not that they were baulked on my account. W r herefore, 
if thou wilt deliver me possession to-morrow morning, it shall 
be done in personal presence of my own followers, and of the 
Presbyterian man the Mayor, so that the transfer may be made 
before witnesses ; whereas, were there none with us but thou 
to deliver, and I to take possession, the men of Belial might 
say, Go to, Trusty Tomkins hath been an Edomite — Honest 
Joe hath been as an Ishmaelite, rising up early and dividing 
the spoil with them that served the Man — yea, they that wore 
beards and green jerkins, as in remembrance of the Man and 
of his government." 

Joceline fixed his keen dark eyes upon the soldier as he 
spoke, as if in design to discover whether there was fair play 
in his mind or not. He then applied his five fingers to scratch 
a large shock head of hair, as if that operation was necessary 
to enable him to come to a conclusion. "This is all fair 
sounding, brother," said he ; " but I tell you plainly, there are 
some silver mugs, and platters, and flagons, and so forth, in 
yonder house, which have survived the general sweep that sent 
all our plate to the smelting-pot, to put our knight's troop on 
horseback. Now, if thou takest not these off my hand, I may 
come to trouble, since it may be thought I have minished their 

numbers. — Whereas, I being as honest a fellow " 

" As ever stole venison," said Tomkins — " nay, I do owe thee 
an interruption." 

"Go to, then," replied the keeper; "if a stag may have 



26 



WOODSTOCK 



come to mischance in my walk., it was no way in the course of 
dishonesty, but merely to keep my old dame's pan from rust- 
ing ; but for silver porringers, tankards, and such like, I would 
as soon have drunk the melted silver, as stolen the vessel made 
out of it. So that I would not wish blame or suspicion fell on 
me in this matter. And, therefore, if you will have the things 
rendered even now, — why so — and if not, hold me blameless." 

"Ay, truly?" said Tomkins; "and who is to hold me 
blameless, if they should see cause to think anything minished ? 
Not the right worshipful Commissioners, to whom the property 
of the estate is as their own ; therefore, as thou say'st, we must 
walk warily in the matter. To lock up the house and leave it, 
were but the work of simple ones. What say'st thou to spend 
the night there, and then nothing can be touched without the 
knowledge of us both ? " 

" Why, concerning that," answered the keeper, " I should be 
at my hut to make matters somewhat conformable for the old 
knight and Mistress Alice, for my old dame Joan is something 
dunny, and will scarce know how to manage — and yet, to speak 
the truth, by the mass I would rather not see Sir Henry to-night, 
since what has happened to-day hath roused his spleen, and it 
is a peradventure he may have met something at the hut which 
will scarce tend to cool it." 

" It is a pity," said Tomkins, " that being a gentleman of 
such grave and goodly presence, he should be such a malignant 
cavalier, and that he should, like the rest of that generation of 
vipers, have clothed himself with curses as with a garment." 

te Wliich is as much as to say, the tough old knight hath a 
habit of swearing," said the keeper, grinning at a pun, which 
has been repeated since his time; "but who can help it? it 
comes of use and wont. Were you now, in your bodily self, to 
light suddenly on a Maypole, with all the blithe morris-dancers 
prancing around it to the merry pipe and tabor, with bells 
jingling, ribands fluttering, lads frisking and laughing, lasses 
leaping till you might see where the scarlet garter fastened the 
light blue hose, I think some feeling, resembling either natural 
sociality, or old use and wont, would get the better, friend, 
even of thy gravity, and thou wouldst fling thy cuckoldy 
steeple-hat one way, and that bloodthirsty long sword another, 
and trip, like the noodles of Hogs- Norton, when the pigs play 
on the organ." 

The Independent turned fiercely round on the keeper, and 
replied, " How now, Mr. Green Jerkin ? what language is this 
to one whose hand is at the plough ? I advise thee to put curb 
on thy tongue, lest thy ribs pay the forfeit." 

" Nay, do not take the high tone with me, brother," answered 
Joceline ; " remember thou hast not the old knight of sixty-five 



WOODSTOCK 



27 



to deal with, but a fellow as bitter and prompt as thyself — it may 
be a little more so — younger, at all events — and prithee, why 
shouldst thou take such umbrage at a Maypole ? I would thou 
hadst known one Phil Hazeldine of these parts — He was the 
best morris-dancer betwixt Oxford and Burford." 

" The more shame to him/' answered the Independent ; " and 
I trust he has seen the error of his ways, and made himself (as, 
if a man of action, he easily might) fit for better company than 
wood-hunters, deer-stealers, Maid Marions, swash-bucklers, de- 
boshed revellers, bloody brawlers, maskers, and mummers, lewd 
men and light women, fools and fiddlers, and carnal self-pleasers 
of every description." 

"Well," replied the keeper, "you are out of breath in time ; 
for here we stand before the famous Maypole of Woodstock." 

They paused in an open space of meadow-land, beautifully 
skirted by large oaks and sycamores, one of which, as king of 
the forest, stood a little detached from the rest, as if scorning 
the vicinity of any rival. It was scathed and gnarled in the 
branches, but the immense trunk still showed to what gigantic 
size the monarch of the forest can attain in the groves of merry 
England. 

"That is called the King's Oak," said Joceline ; "the oldest 
men of Woodstock know not how old it is ; they say Henry 
used to sit under it with fair Rosamond, and see the lasses 
dance, and the lads of the village run races, and wrestle for 
belts or bonnets." 

" I nothing doubt it, friend/' said Tomkins ; " a tyrant and a 
harlot were fitting patron and patroness for such vanities." 

"Thou mayst say thy say, friend," replied the keeper, "so 
thou lettest me say mine. There stands the Maypole, as thou 
seest, half a flight-shot from the King's Oak, in the midst of the 
meadow. The King gave ten shillings from the customs of 
Woodstock to make a new one yearly, besides a tree fitted for 
the purpose out of the forest. Now it is warped, and withered, 
and twisted, like a wasted brier-rod. The green, too, used to 
be close-shaved, and rolled till it was smooth as a velvet mantle 
— now it is rough and overgrown." 

"Well, well, friend Joceline," said the Independent, "but 
where was the edification of all this? — what use of doctrine 
could be derived from a pipe and tabor? or was there ever 
aught like wisdom in a bagpipe ?" 

"You may ask better scholars that," said Joceline; "but 
methinks men cannot be always grave, and with the hat over 
their brow. A young maiden will laugh as a tender flower will 
blow — ay, and a lad will like her the better for it ; just as the 
same blithe Spring that makes the young birds whistle, bids the 
blithe fawns skip. There have come worse days since the jolly 



WOODSTOCK 



old times have gone by : — I tell thee, that in the holidays which 
you, Mr. Longsword, have put down, I have seen this greensward 
alive with merry maidens and manly fellows. The good old 
rector himself thought it was no sin to come for a while and 
look on, and his goodly cassock and scarf kept us all in good 
order, and taught us to limit our mirth within the bounds of 
discretion. We might, it may be, crack a broad jest, or pledge 
a friendly cup a turn too often, but it was in mirth and good 
neighbourhood — Ay, and if there was a bout at single-stick, or 
a bellyful of boxing, it was all for love and kindness ; and better 
a few dry blows in drink, than the bloody doings we have had 
in sober earnest, since the presbyter's cap got above the bishop's 
mitre, and we exchanged our goodly rectors and learned doctors, 
whose sermons were all bolstered up with as much Greek and 
Latin as might have confounded the devil himself, for weavers 
and cobblers, and such other pulpit volunteers, as — as we heard 
this morning. It will out." 

" Well, friend," said the Independent, with patience scarcely 
to have been expected, " I quarrel not with thee for nauseating 
my doctrine. If thine ear is so much tickled with tabor tunes 
and morris tripping, truly it is not likely thou shouldst find 
pleasant savour in more wholesome and sober food. But let us 
to the Lodge, that we may go about our business there before 
the sun sets." 

"Troth, and that may be advisable for more reasons than 
one," said the keeper; "for there have been tales about the 
Lodge which have made men afeared to harbour there after 
nightfall." 

" Were not yon old knight, and yonder damsel his daughter, 
wont to dwell there ? " said the Independent. " My information 
said so." 

" Ay, truly did they," said Joceline ; " and while they kept a 
jolly household, all went well enough ; for nothing banishes fear 
like good ale. But after the best of our men went to the 
wars, and were slain at Naseby fight, they who were left found 
the Lodge more lonesome, and the old knight has been much 
deserted of his servants : — marry, it might be, that he has lacked 
silver of late to pay groom and lackey." 

" A potential reason for the diminution of a household," said 
the soldier. 

" Right, sir, even so," replied the keeper. " They spoke of 
steps in the great gallery, heard by dead of the night, and 
voices that whispered at noon in the matted chambers ; and 
the servants pretended that these things scared them away ; 
but, in my poor judgment, when Martinmas and Whitsuntide 
came round without a penny-fee, the old blue-bottles of serving- 
men began to think of creeping elsewhere before the frost 



WOODSTOCK 



29 



chilled them. — No devil so frightful as that which dances in 
the pocket where there is no cross to keep him out." 

"You were reduced, then, to a petty household?" said the 
Independent. 

" Ay, marry were we," said Joceline ; " but we kept some 
half-score together, what with blue-bottles in the Lodge, what 
with green caterpillars of the chase, like him who is yours to 
command ; we stuck together till we found a call to take a 
morning's ride somewhere or other." 

"To the town of Worcester," said the soldier, "where you 
were crushed like vermin and palmer worms, as you are." 

"You may say your pleasure," replied the keeper; "I'll 
never contradict a man who has got my head under his belt. 
Our backs are at the wall, or you would not be here." 

" Nay, friend," said the Independent, " thou riskest nothing 
by thy freedom and trust in me. I can be bon camardo to a 
good soldier, although I have striven with him even to the 
going down of the sun. — But here we are in front of the 
Lodge." 

They stood accordingly in front of the old Gothic building, 
irregularly constructed, and at different times, as the humour 
of the English monarchs led them to taste the pleasures of 
Woodstock Chase, and to make such improvements for their 
own accommodation, as the increasing luxury of each age 
required. The oldest part of the structure had been named by 
tradition Fair Rosamond's Tower ; it was a small turret of 
great height, with narrow windows, and walls of massive thick- 
ness. The Tower had no opening to the ground, or means of 
descending, a great part of the lower portion being solid mason- 
work. It was traditionally said to have been accessible only by 
a sort of small drawbridge, which might be dropped at pleasure 
from a little portal near the summit of the turret, to the battle- 
ments of another tower of the same construction, but twenty 
feet lower, and containing only a winding staircase, called in 
Woodstock Love's Ladder ; because it is said, that by ascending 
this staircase to the top of the tower, and then making use of 
the drawbridge, Henry obtained access to the chamber of his 
paramour. 

This tradition had been keenly impugned by Dr. Rochecliffe, 
the former rector of Woodstock, who insisted that what was 
called Rosamond's Tower was merely an interior keep, or 
citadel, to which the lord or warden of the castle might retreat, 
when other points of safety failed him ; and either protract his 
defence, or, at the worst, stipulate for reasonable terms of sur- 
render. The people of Woodstock, jealous of their ancient 
traditions, did not relish this new mode of explaining them 
away ; and it is even said that the Mayor, whom we have 



30 



WOODSTOCK 



already introduced, became Presbyterian in revenge of the 
doubts cast by the rector upon this important subject, rather 
choosing to give up the Liturgy than his fixed belief in 
Rosamond's Tower, and Love's Ladder. 

The rest of the Lodge was of considerable extent, and of 
different ages ; comprehending a nest of little courts, surrounded 
by buildings which corresponded with each other, sometimes 
within-doors, sometimes by crossing the courts, and frequently 
in both ways. The different heights of the buildings announced 
that they could only be connected by the usual variety of stair- 
cases, which exercised the limbs of our ancestors in the sixteenth 
and earlier centuries, and seem sometimes to have been con- 
trived for no other purpose. 

The varied and multiplied fronts of this irregular building 
were, as Dr. Rochecliffe was wont to say, an absolute banquet 
to the architectural antiquary, as they certainly contained speci- 
mens of every style which existed, from the pure Norman of 
Henry of Anjou, down to the composite, half Gothic half 
classical architecture of Elizabeth and her successor. Accord- 
ingly, the rector was himself as much enamoured of Woodstock 
as ever was Henry of Fair Rosamond ; and as his intimacy with 
Sir Henry Lee permitted him entrance at all times to the Royal 
Lodge, he used to spend whole days in wandering about the 
antique apartments, examining, measuring, studying, and finding 
out excellent reasons for architectural peculiarities, which pro- 
bably only owed their existence to the freakish fancy of a 
Gothic artist. But the old antiquary had been expelled from 
his living by the intolerance and troubles of the times, and his 
successor, Nehemiah Holdenough, would have considered an 
elaborate investigation of the profane sculpture and architecture 
of blinded and bloodthirsty Papists, together with the history of 
the dissolute amours of old Norman monarchs, as little better 
than a bowing down before the calves of Bethel, and a drinking 
of the cup of abominations. — We return to the course of our 
story. 

" There is," said the Independent Tomkins, after he had care- 
fully perused the front of the building, " many a rare monument 
of olden wickedness about this miscalled Royal Lodge; verily, 
I shall rejoice much to see the same destroyed, yea, burned to 
ashes, and the ashes thrown into the brook Kedron, or any other 
brook, that the land may be cleansed from the memory thereof, 
neither remember the iniquity with which their fathers have 
sinned. ,, 

The keeper heard him with secret indignation, and began to 
consider with himself, whether, as they stood but one to one, 
and without chance of speedy interference, he was not called 
upon, by his official duty, to castigate the rebel who used 



WOODSTOCK 31 

language so defamatory. But he fortunately recollected that 
the strife must be a doubtful one — that the advantage of arms 
was against him— and that, in especial, even if he should succeed 
in the combat, it would be at the risk of severe retaliation. It 
must be owned, too, that there was something about the Inde- 
pendent so dark and mysterious, so grim and grave, that the 
more open spirit of the keeper felt oppressed, and, if not over- 
awed, at least kept in doubt concerning him ; and he thought 
it wisest, as well as safest, for his master and himself, to avoid 
all subjects of dispute, and know better with whom he was 
dealing, before he made either friend or enemy of him. 

The great gate of the lodge was strongly bolted, but the 
wicket opened on Joceline's raising the latch. There was a 
short passage of ten feet, which had been formerly closed by 
a portcullis at the inner end, while three loopholes opened 
on either side, through which any daring intruder might be 
annoyed, who, having surprised the first gate, must be thus 
exposed to a severe fire before he could force the second. But 
the machinery of the portcullis was damaged, and it now 
remained a fixture, brandishing its jaw, well furnished with 
iron fangs, but incapable of dropping it across the path of 
invasion. 

The way, therefore, lay open to the great hall or outer vesti- 
bule of the Lodge. One end of this long and dusky apartment 
was entirely occupied by a gallery, which had in ancient times 
served to accommodate the musicians and minstrels. There 
was a clumsy staircase at either side of it, composed of entire 
logs of a foot square ; and in each angle of the ascent was 
placed, by way of sentinel, the figure of a Norman foot-soldier, 
having an open casque on his head, which displayed features 
as stern as the painter's genius could devise. Their arms were 
buff-jackets, or shirts of mail, round bucklers, with spikes in 
the centre, and buskins which adorned and defended the feet 
and ankles, but left the knees bare. These wooden warders 
held great swords, or maces in their hands, like military guards 
on duty. Many an empty hook and brace, along the walls of 
the gloomy apartment, marked the spots from which arms, 
long preserved as trophies, had been, in the pressure of the 
wars, once more taken down, to do service in the field, like 
veterans whom extremity of danger recalls to battle. On other 
rusty fastenings were still displayed the hunting trophies of the 
monarchs to whom the Lodge belonged, and of the silvan 
knights to whose care it had been from time to time confided. 

At the nether end of the hall, a huge, heavy, stone-wrought 
chimney-piece projected itself ten feet from the wall, adorned 
with many a cipher, and many a scutcheon of the Royal House 
of England. Id its present state, it yawned like the arched 



32 



WOODSTOCK 



mouth of a funeral vault, or perhaps might be compared to the 
crater of an extinguished volcano. But the sable complexion 
of the massive stone-work, and all around it, showed that the 
time had been when it sent its huge fires blazing up the huge 
chimney, besides puffing many a volume of smoke over the 
heads of the jovial guests, whose royalty or nobility did not 
render them sensitive enough to quarrel with such slight incon- 
venience. On these occasions, it was the tradition of the 
house, that two cart-loads of wood was the regular allowance 
for the fire between noon and curfew, and the andirons, or 
dogs, as they were termed, constructed for retaining the blazing 
firewood on the hearth, were wrought in the shape of lions of 
such gigantic size as might well warrant the legend. There 
were long seats of stone within the chimney, where, in despite 
of the tremendous heat, monarchs were sometimes said to have 
taken their station, and amused themselves with broiling the 
umbles, or dorvsets, of the deer, upon the glowing embers, with 
their own royal hands, when happy the courtier who was in- 
vited to taste the royal cookery. Tradition was here also ready 
with her record, to show what merry gibes, such as might be 
exchanged between prince and peer, had flown about at the 
jolly banquet which followed the Michaelmas hunt. She could 
tell, too, exactly, where King Stephen sat when he darned his 
own princely hose, and knew most of the odd tricks he had put 
upon little Winkin, the tailor of Woodstock. 

Most of this rude revelry belonged to the Plantagenet times. 
When the House of Tudor acceded to the throne, they were 
more chary of their royal presence, and feasted in halls and 
chambers far within, abandoning the outmost hall to the yeomen 
of the guard, who mounted their watch there, and passed away 
the night with wassail and mirth, exchanged sometimes for 
frightful tales of apparitions and sorceries, which made some of 
those grow pale, in whose ears the trumpet of a French foeman 
would have sounded as jollily as a summons to the woodland 
chase. 

Joceline pointed out the peculiarities of the place to his 
gloomy companion more briefly than we have detailed them to 
the reader. The Independent seemed to listen with some in- 
terest at first, but flinging it suddenly aside, he said in a solemn 
tone, " Perish Babylon, as thy master Nebuchadnezzar hath 
perished ! He is a wanderer, and thou shalt be a waste place — 
yea, and a wilderness — yea, a desert of salt, in which there shall 
be thirst and famine." 

" There is like to be enough of both to-night," said Joceline, 
" unless the good knight's larder be somewhat fuller than it is 
wont." 

"We must care for the creature-comforts," said the Inde- 




JOCELINE SNATCHES A WORD WITH PHCEBE MAYFLOWER 
By W. P. Frith, R.A. 



WOODSTOCK 33 

pendent, "but in due season, when our duties are done. 
Whither lead these entrances ? " 

" That to the right/' replied the keeper, " leads to what are 
called the state-apartments, not used since the year sixteen 
hundred and thirty-nine, when his blessed Majesty " 

" How, sir ! " interrupted the Independent, in a voice of 
thunder, "dost thou speak of Charles Stewart as blessing, or 
blessed ? — beware the proclamation to that effect." 

"I meant no harm," answered the keeper, suppressing his 
disposition to make a harsher reply. " My business is with 
bolts and bucks, not with titles and state affairs. But yet, 
whatever may have happened since, that poor King was followed 
with blessings enough from Woodstock, for he left a glove full 
of broad pieces for the poor of the place " 

" Peace, friend," said the Independent ; " I will think thee 
else one of those besotted and blinded Papists, who hold, that 
bestowing of alms is an atonement and washing away of the 
wrongs and oppressions which have been wrought by the alms- 
giver. Thou sayest, then, these were the apartments of Charles 
Stewart ? " 

" And of his father, James, before him, and Elizabeth, before 
him, and bluff King Henry, who builded that wing, before 
them all." 

" And there, I suppose, the knight and his daughter dwelt?" 

"No," replied Joceline ; "Sir Henry Lee had too much 
reverence for — for things which are now thought worth no 
reverence at all — Besides, the state-rooms are unaired, and in 
indifferent order, since of late years. The Knight Ranger's 
apartment lies by that passage to the left." 

" And whither goes yonder stair, which seems both to lead 
upwards and downwards ? " 

" Upwards," replied the keeper, " it leads to many apart- 
ments, used for various purposes, of sleeping, and other accom- 
modation. Downwards, to the kitchen, offices, and vaults ol 
the castle, which, at this time of the evening, you cannot see 
without lights." 

"We will to the apartments of your knight, then," said the 
Independent. " Is there fitting accommodation there ? " 

" Such as has served a person of condition, whose lodging is 
now worse appointed," answered the honest keeper, his bile 
rising so fast that he added, in a muttering and inaudible tone, 
" so it may well serve a crop-eared knave like thee." 

He acted as the usher, however, and led on towards the 
ranger's apartments. 

This suite opened by a short passage from the hall, secured 
at time of need by two oaken doors, which could be fastened by 
large bars of the same, that were drawn out of the wall, and 

c 



34 



WOODSTOCK 



entered into square holes, contrived for their reception on the 
other side of the portal. At the end of this passage, a small 
anteroom received them, into which opened the sitting apart- 
ment of the good knight — which, in the style of the times, 
might have been termed a fair summer parlour — lighted by two 
oriel windows, so placed as to command each of them a separate 
avenue, leading distant and deep into the forest. The principal 
ornament of the apartment, besides two or three family portraits 
of less interest, was a tall full-length picture, that hung above 
the chimney-piece, which, like that in the hall, was of heavy 
stone-work, ornamented with carved scutcheons, emblazoned 
with various devices. The portrait was that of a man about 
fifty years of age, in complete plate armour, and painted in the 
harsh and dry manner of Holbein — probably, indeed, the work 
of that artist, as the dates corresponded. The formal and marked 
angles, points, and projections of the armour, were a good sub- 
ject for the harsh pencil of that early school. The face of the 
knight was, from the fading of the colours, pale and dim, like 
that of some being from the other world, yet the lines expressed 
forcibly pride and exultation. 

He pointed with his leading-staff, or truncheon, to the back- 
ground, where, in such perspective as the artist possessed, were 
depicted the remains of a burning church, or monastery, and 
four or five soldiers, in red cassocks, bearing away in triumph 
what seemed a brazen font or laver. Above their heads might 
be traced in scroll, "Lee Victor sic voluit." Right opposite to the 
picture, hung, in a niche in the wall, a complete set of tilting 
armour, the black and gold colours, and ornaments of which, 
exactly corresponded with those exhibited in the portrait. 

The picture was one of those which, from something marked 
in the features and expression, attract the observation even of 
those who are ignorant of art. The Independent looked at it 
until a smile passed transiently over his clouded brow. Whether 
he smiled to see the grim old cavalier employed in desecrating 
a religious house — (an occupation much conforming to the 
practice of his own sect) — whether he smiled in contempt of 
the old painter's harsh and dry mode of working — or whether 
the sight of this remarkable portrait revived some other ideas, 
the under-keeper could not decide. 

The smile passed away in an instant, as the soldier looked 
to the oriel windows. The recesses within them were raised 
a step or two from the wall. In one was placed a walnut-tree 
reading-desk, and a huge stuffed arm-chair, covered with Spanish 
leather. A little cabinet stood beside, with some of its shuttles 
and drawers open, displaying hawks-bells, dog-whistles, instru- 
ments for trimming falcons' feathers, bridle-bits of various con- 
structions, and other trifles connected with silvan sport. 



WOODSTOCK 



35 



The other little recess was differently furnished. There lay 
some articles of needlework on a small table, besides a lute, 
with a book having some airs written down in it, and a frame 
for working embroidery. Some tapestry was displayed around 
the recess, with more attention to ornament than was visible in 
the rest of the apartment ; the arrangement of a few bow-pots, 
with such flowers as the fading season afforded, showed also the 
superintendence of female taste. 

Tomkins cast an eye of careless regard upon these subjects of 
female occupation, then stepped into the farther window, and 
began to turn the leaves of a folio, which lay open on the 
reading-desk, apparently with some interest. Joceline, who 
had determined to watch his motions without interfering with 
them, was standing at some distance in dejected silence, when 
a door behind the tapestry suddenly opened, and a pretty village 
maid tripped out with a napkin in her hand, as if she had been 
about some household duty. 

" How now, Sir Impudence ? " she said to Joceline in a smart 
tone ; " what do you here prowling about the apartments when 
the master is not at home ? " 

But instead of the answer which perhaps she expected, Joce- 
line Joliffe cast a mournful glance towards the soldier in the 
oriel window, as if to make what he said fully intelligible, and 
replied with a dejected appearance and voice, "Alack, my pretty 
Phoebe, there come those here that have more right or might 
than any of us, and will use little ceremony in coming when 
they will, and staying while they please." 

He darted another glance at Tomkins, who still seemed busy 
with the book before him, then sidled close to the astonished girl, 
who had continued looking alternately at the keeper and at the 
stranger, as if she had been unable to understand the words of the 
first, or to comprehend the meaning of the second being present. 

"Go," whispered Joliffe, approaching his mouth so near her 
cheek, that his breath waved the curls of her hair ; u go, my 
dearest Phoebe, trip it as fast as a fawn down to my lodge — I 
will soon be there, and " 

" Your lodge, indeed ! " said Phoebe ; " you are very bold, for 
a poor killbuck that never frightened anything before save a dun 
deer — Your lodge, indeed ! — I am like to go there, I think." 

" Hush, hush ! Phoebe — here is no time for jesting. Down 
to my hut, I say, like a deer, for the knight and Mrs. Alice are 
both there, and I fear will not return hither again. — All's naught, 
girl — and our evil days are come at last with a vengeance — we 
are fairly at bay and fairly hunted down." 

" Can this be, Joceline ? " said the poor girl, turning to the 
keeper with an expression of fright in her countenance, which 
she had hitherto averted in rural coquetry. 



36 WOODSTOCK 

" As sure, my dearest Phoebe, as " 

The rest of the asseveration was lost in Phoebe's ear, so closely 
did the keeper's lips approach it ; and if they approached so 
very near as to touch her cheek, grief, like impatience, hath its 
privileges, and poor Phcebe had enough of serious alarm to pre- 
vent her from demurring upon such a trifle. 

But no trifle was the approach of Joceline's lips to Phoebe's 
pretty though sunburnt cheek, in the estimation of the Inde- 
pendent, who, a little before the object of Joceline's vigilance, 
had been more lately in his turn the observer of the keeper's 
demeanour, so soon as the interview betwixt Phoebe and him 
had become so interesting. And when he remarked the close- 
ness of Joceline's argument, he raised his voice to a pitch of 
harshness that would have rivalled that of an ungreased and 
rusty saw, and which at once made Joceline and Phoebe spring 
six feet apart, each in contrary directions, and if Cupid was of 
the party must have sent him out at the window like a wild 
duck flying from a culverin. Instantly throwing himself into 
the attitude of a preacher and a reprover of vice, " How now ! " 
he exclaimed, " shameless and impudent as you are ! — What — 
chambering and wantoning in our very presence ! — How — would 
you play your pranks before the steward of the Commissioners 
of the High Court of Parliament, as ye would in a booth at the 
fulsome fair, or amidst the trappings and tracings of a profane 
dancing school, where the scoundrel minstrels make their un- 
godly weapons to squeak, ( Kiss and be kind, the fiddler's blind ? ' 
— But here," he said, dealing a perilous thump upon the volume 
" Here is the King and high priest of those vices and follies ! 
— Here is he, whom men of folly profanely call nature's miracle ! 
— Here is he, whom princes chose for their cabinet-keeper, and 
whom maids of honour take for their bedfellow ! — Here is the 
prime teacher of fine words, foppery and folly — Here !" — (deal- 
ing another thump upon the volume — and oh ! revered of the 
Roxburghe, it was the first folio — beloved of the Bannatyne, it 
was Hemmings and Condel — it was the editio princeps) — "On 
thee," he continued — "on thee, William Shakspeare, I charge 
whate'er of such lawless idleness and immodest folly hath defiled 
the land since thy day ! " 

" By the mass, a heavy accusation," said Joceline, the bold 
recklessness of whose temper could not be long overawed ; 
" Odds pitlikins, is our master's old favourite, Will of Stratford, 
to answer for every buss that has been snatched since James's 
time ? — a perilous reckoning truly — but I wonder who is sponsible 
for what lads and lasses did before his day ? " 

" Scoff not," said the soldier, " lest I, being called thereto by 
the voice within me, do deal with thee as a scorner. Verily, I 
say, that since the devil fell from heaven, he never lacked 



WOODSTOCK 



37 



agents on earth ; yet nowhere hath he met with a wizard having 
such infinite (power over men's souls as this pestilent fellow 
Shakspeare. Seeks a wife a foul example for adultery, here she 
shall find it — Would a man know how to train his fellow to be a 
murderer, here shall he find tutoring — Would a lady marry a 
heathen negro, she shall have chronicled example for it — 
Would any one scorn at his Maker, he shall be furnished with 
a jest in this book — Would he defy his brother in the flesh, he 
shall be accommodated with a challenge — Would you be drunk, 
Shakspeare will cheer you with a cup — Would you plunge in 
sensual pleasures, he will soothe you to indulgence, as with the 
lascivious sounds of a lute. This, I say, this book is the well- 
head and source of all those evils which have overrun the land 
like a torrent, making men scoffers, doubters, deniers, murderers, 
makebates, and lovers of the wine-pot, haunting unclean places, 
and sitting long at the evening-wine. Away with him, away with 
him, men of England ! to Tophet with his wicked book, and to 
the Vale of Hinnom with his accursed bones ! Verily but that 
our march was hasty when we passed Stratford, in the year 164-3, 
with Sir William Waller ; but that our march was hasty " 

"Because Prince Rupert was after you with his cavaliers," 
muttered the incorrigible Joceline. 

" I say," continued the zealous trooper, raising his voice and 
extending his arm — "but that our march was by command 
hasty, and that we turned not aside in our riding, closing our 
ranks each one upon the other as becomes men of war, I had 
torn on that day the bones of that preceptor of vice and de- 
bauchery from the grave, and given them to the next dunghill. 
I would have made his memory a scoff and a hissing ! " 

w That is the bitterest thing he has said yet," observed the 
keeper. " Poor Will would have liked the hissing worse than 
all the rest." 

" Will the gentleman say any more ? " inquired Phoebe in a 
whisper. "Lack-a-day, he talks brave words, if one knew but 
what they meant. But it is a mercy our good knight did not 
see him ruffle the book at that rate — Mercy on us, there would 
certainly have been bloodshed. — But oh, the father — see how he 
is twisting his face about ! — Is he ill of the colic, think'st thou, 
Joceline ? Or, may I offer him a glass of strong waters ?" 

" Hark thee hither, wench ! " said the keeper, " he is but 
loading his blunderbuss for another volley ; and while he turns 
up his eyes, and twists about his face, and clenches his fist, and 
shuffles and tramples with his feet in that fashion, he is bound 
to take no notice of anything. I would be sworn to cut his 
purse, if he had one, from his side, without his feeling it." 

"La! Joceline," said Phcebe, "and if he abides here in this 
turn of times, I dare say the gentleman will be easily served." 



38 WOODSTOCK 

"Care not thou about that/' said Joliffe ; "but tell me 
softly and hastily what is in the pantry ? *' 

"Small housekeeping enough/' said Phoebe ; "a cold capon 
and some comfits, and the great standing venison pasty, with 
plenty of spice — a manchet or two besides, and that is all." 

" Well, it will serve for a pinch — wrap thy cloak round thy 
comely body — get a basket and a brace of trenchers and towels, 
they are heinously impoverished down yonder — carry down the 
capon and the manchets — the pasty must abide with this same 
soldier and me, and the pie-crust will serve us for bread." 

" Rarely," said Phoebe ; " I made the paste myself — it is as 
thick as the walls of Fair Rosamond's Tower." 

" Which two pairs of jaws would be long in gnawing through, 
work hard as they might," said the keeper. " But what liquor 
is there ? " 

" Only a bottle of Alicant, and one of sack, with the stone 
jug of strong waters," answered Phoebe. 

"Put the wine-flasks into thy basket," said Joceline, "the 
knight must not lack his evening draught — and down with thee 
to the hut like a lapwing. There is enough for supper, and 
to-morrow is a new day. — Ha ! by heaven I thought yonder 
man's eye watched us — No — he only rolled it round him in a 
brown study — Deep enough doubtless, as they all are. — But 
d — n him, he must be bottomless if I cannot sound him before 
the night's out. — Hie thee away, Phoebe." 

But Phoebe was a rural coquette, and, aware that Joceline's 
situation gave him no advantage of avenging the challenge in 
a fitting way, she whispered in his ear, " Do you think our 
knight's friend, Shakspeare, really found out all these naughty 
devices the gentleman spoke of?" 

Off she darted while she spoke, while Joliffe menaced future 
vengeance with his finger, as he muttered, " Go thy way, Phoebe 
Mayflower, the lightest-footed and lightest-hearted wench that 
ever tripped the sod in Woodstock Park ! — After her, Be vis, and 
bring her safe to our master at the hut." 

The large greyhound arose like a human servitor who had 
received an order, and followed Phoebe through the hall, first 
licking her hand to make her sensible of his presence, and then 
putting himself to a slow trot, so as best to accommodate himself 
to the light pace of her whom he convoyed, whom Joceline had 
not extolled for her activity without due reason. While Phoebe and 
her guardian thread the forest glades, we return to the Lodge. 

The Independent now seemed to start as if from a reverie. 
" Is the young woman gone ? " said he. 

" Ay, marry is she, " said the keeper ; " and if your worship 
hath farther commands, you must rest contented with male 
attendance." 



WOODSTOCK 



39 



" Commands — umph — I think the damsel might have tarried 
for another exhortation/' said the soldier — " truly, I profess my 
mind was much inclined toward her for her edification." 

u Oh, sir/' replied Joliffe, " she will be at church next 
Sunday, and if your military reverence is pleased again to hold 
forth amongst us, she will have use of the doctrine with the rest. 
But young maidens of these parts hear no private homilies. — 
And what is now your pleasure ? Will you look at the other 
rooms, and at the few plate articles which have been left ? " 

"Umph — no," said the Independent — "it wears late, and 
gets dark — thou hast the means of giving us beds, friend ? " 

(t Better you never slept in," replied the keeper. 

" And wood for a fire, and a light, and some small pittance 
of creature-comforts for refreshment of the outward man ? " 
continued the soldier. 

" Without doubt," replied the keeper, displaying a prudent 
anxiety to gratify this important personage. 

In a few minutes a great standing candlestick was placed on 
an oaken table. The mighty venison pasty, adorned with 
parsley, was placed on the board on a clean napkin ; the 
stone-bottle of strong waters, with a black-jack full of ale, 
formed comfortable appendages ; and to this meal sat down in 
social manner the soldier, occupying a great elbow-chair, and 
the keeper, at his invitation, using the more lowly accommoda- 
tion of a stool, at the opposite side of the table. Thus agreeably 
employed, our history leaves them for the present. 



CHAPTER IV 

Yon path of greensward 
Winds round by sparry grot and gay pavilion ; 
There is no flint to gall thy tender foot, 
There's ready shelter from each breeze, or shower. — 
But duty guides not that way — see her stand, 
With wand entwined with amaranth, near yon cliffs. 
Oft where she leads thy blood must mark thy footsteps, 
Oft where she leads thy head must bear the storm, 
And thy shrunk form endure heat, cold, and hunger ; 
But she will guide thee up to noble heights, 
Which he who gains seems native of the sky, 
While earthly things lie stretch'd beneath his feet, 
Diminish'd, shrunk, and valueless 

—Anonymous. 

The reader cannot have forgotten that after his scuffle with 
the commonwealth soldier, Sir Henry Lee, with his daughter 
Alice, had departed to take refuge in the hut of the stout keeper 
Joceline Joliffe. They walked slow, as before, for the old 



40 



WOODSTOCK 



knight was at once oppressed by perceiving these last vestiges 
of royalty fall into the hands of republicans, and by the 
recollection of his recent defeat. At times he paused, and, 
with his arms folded on his bosom, recalled all the circum- 
stances attending his expulsion from a house so long his home. 
It seemed to him that, like the champions of romance of whom 
he had sometimes read, he himself was retiring from the post 
which it was his duty to guard, defeated by a Paynim knight, 
for whom the adventure had been reserved by fate. Alice had 
her own painful subjects of recollection, nor had the tenor of 
her last conversation with her father been so pleasant as to 
make her anxious to renew it until his temper should be more 
composed ; for with an excellent disposition, and much love to 
his daughter, age and misfortunes, which of late came thicker 
and thicker, had given to the good knight's passions a wayward 
irritability unknown to his better days. His daughter, and one 
or two attached servants, who still followed his decayed fortunes, 
soothed his frailty as much as possible, and pitied him even 
while they suffered under its effects. 

It was a long time ere he spoke, and then he referred to an 
incident already noticed. " It is strange," he said, " that Bevis 
should have followed Joceline and that fellow rather than me." 

" Assure yourself, sir," replied Alice, e< that his sagacity saw in 
this man a stranger, whom he thought himself obliged to watch 
circumspectly, and therefore he remained with Joceline." 

" Not so, Alice," answered Sir Henry ; " he leaves me because 
my fortunes have fled from me. There is a feeling in nature, 
affecting even the instinct, as it is called, of dumb animals, 
which teaches them to fly from misfortune. The very deer 
there will butt a sick or wounded buck from the herd ; hurt a 
dog, and the whole kennel will fall on him and worry him ; 
fishes devour their own kind when they are wounded with a 
spear ; cut a crow's wing, or break its leg, the others will buffet 
it to death." 

" That may be true of the more irrational kinds of animals 
among each other," said Alice, " for their whole life is well-nigh 
a warfare ; but the dog leaves his own race to attach himself 
to ours ; forsakes, for his master, the company, food, and plea- 
sure of his own kind ; and surely the fidelity of such a devoted 
and voluntary servant as Bevis hath been in particular, ought 
not to be lightly suspected." 

" I am not angry with the dog, Alice ; I am only sorry," 
replied her father. " I have read, in faithful chronicles, that 
when Richard II. and Henry of Bolingbroke were at Berkeley 
Castle, a dog of the same kind deserted the King, whom he 
had always attended upon, and attached himself to Henry, 
whom he then saw for the first time. Richard foretold, from 



WOODSTOCK 



4i 



the desertion of his favourite, his approaching deposition.* 
The dog was afterwards kept at Woodstock, and Bevis is said 
to be of his breed, which was needfully kept up. What I 
might foretell of mischief from his desertion, I cannot guess, 
but my mind assures me it bodes no good." 

There was a distant rustling among the withered leaves, a 
bouncing or galloping sound on the path, and the favourite dog 
instantly joined his master. 

"Come into court, old knave/' said Alice cheerfully, "and 
defend thy character, which is well-nigh endangered by this 
absence." But the dog only paid her courtesy by gamboling 
around them, and instantly plunged back again, as fast as he 
could scamper. 

"How now, knave?" said the knight; "thou art too well 
trained, surely, to take up the chase without orders." A minute 
more showed them Phcebe Mayflower, approaching, her light 
pace so little impeded by the burden which she bore, that she 
joined her master and young mistress just as they arrived at 
the keeper's hut, which was the boundary of their journey. 
Bevis, who had shot a-head to pay his compliments to Sir Henry 
his master, had returned again to his immediate duty, the 
escorting Phcebe and her cargo of provisions. The whole party 
stood presently assembled before the door of the keeper's hut. 

In better times, a substantial stone habitation, fit for the 
yeoman-keeper of a royal walk, had adorned this place. A 
fair spring gushed out near the spot, and once traversed yards 
and courts, attached to well-built and convenient kennels and 
mews. But in some of the skirmishes which were common 
during the civil wars, this little silvan dwelling had been 
attacked and defended, stormed and burnt. A neighbouring 
squire, of the Parliament side of the question, took advantage 
of Sir Henry Lee's absence, who was then in Charles's camp, 
and of the decay of the royal cause, and had, without scruple, 
carried off the hewn stones, and such building materials as 
the fire left unconsumed, and repaired his own manor-house 
with them. The yeoman-keeper, therefore, our friend Joceline, 
had constructed, for his own accommodation, and that of the 
old woman he called his dame, a wattled hut, such as his own 
labour, with that of a neighbour or two, had erected in the 
course of a few days. The walls were plastered with clay, 
white -washed, and covered with vines and other creeping 
plants; the roof was neatly thatched, and the whole, though 
merely a hut, had, by the neat-handed Joliffe, been so arranged 
as not to disgrace the condition of the dweller. 

The knight advanced to the entrance ; but the ingenuity of 



* The story occurs, I think, in Froissart's Chronicles. 



42 



WOODSTOCK 



the architect, for want of a better lock to the door, which itself 
was but of wattles curiously twisted, had contrived a mode of 
securing the latch on the inside with a pin, which prevented 
it from rising ; and in this manner it was at present fastened. 
Conceiving that this was some precaution of JolifFe's old house- 
keeper, of whose deafness they were all aware, Sir Henry raised 
his voice to demand admittance, but in vain. Irritated at 
this delay, he pressed the door at once with foot and hand, in 
a way which the frail barrier was unable to resist ; it gave way 
accordingly, and the knight thus forcibly entered the kitchen, or 
outward apartment, of his servant. In the midst of the floor, 
and with a posture which indicated embarrassment, stood a 
youthful stranger, in a riding-suit. 

" This may be my last act of authority here," said the knight, 
seizing the stranger by the collar, "but I am still Ranger 
of Woodstock for this night at least — Who, or what art 
thou ? " 

The stranger dropped the riding mantle in which his face 
was muffled, and at the same time fell on one knee. 

" Your poor kinsman, Markham Everard," he said, u who 
came hither for your sake, although he fears you will scarce 
make him welcome for his own." 

Sir Henry started back, but recovered himself in an instant, 
as one who recollected that he had a part of dignity to per- 
form. He stood erect, therefore, and replied, with considerable 
assumption of stately ceremony : 

tf Fair kinsman, it pleases me that you are come to Wood- 
stock upon the very first night that, for many years which have 
past, is likely to promise you a worthy or a welcome reception." 

"Now God grant it be so, that I rightly hear and duly 
understand you," said the young man ; while Alice, though 
she was silent, kept her looks fixed on her father's face, as 
if desirous to know whether his meaning was kind towards his 
nephew, which her knowledge of his character inclined her 
greatly to doubt. 

The knight meanwhile darted a sardonic look, first on his 
nephew, then on his daughter, and proceeded — " I need not, I 
presume, inform Mr. Markham Everard, that it cannot be our 
purpose to entertain him, or even to offer him a seat in this 
poor hut." 

" I will attend you most willingly to the Lodge," said the 
young gentleman. "I had, indeed, judged you were already 
there for the evening, and feared to intrude upon you. But if 
you would permit me, my dearest uncle, to escort my kins- 
woman and you back to the Lodge, believe me, amongst all 
which you have so often done of good and kind, you never 
conferred benefit that will be so dearty prized." 



WOODSTOCK 



43 



"You mistake me greatly, Mr. Markham Everard," replied 
the knight. " It is not our purpose to return to the Lodge 
to-night, nor, by Our Lady, to-morrow neither. I meant but 
to intimate to you in all courtesy, that at Woodstock Lodge 
you will find those for whom you are fitting society, and who, 
doubtless, will afford you a willing welcome; which I, sir, in 
this my present retreat, do not presume to offer to a person of 
your consequence." 

" For Heaven's sake," said the young man, turning to Alice, 
"tell me how I am to understand language so mysterious." 

Alice, to prevent his increasing the restrained anger of her 
father, compelled herself to answer, though it was with diffi- 
culty, " We are expelled from the Lodge by soldiers." 

u Expelled — by soldiers ! " exclaimed Everard, in surprise — 
"there is no legal warrant for this." 

"None at all," answered the knight, in the same tone of 
cutting irony which he had all along used, " and yet as lawful 
a warrant, as for aught that has been wrought in England this 
twelvemonth and more. You are, I think, or were, an Inns- 
of-Court-man — marry, sir, your enjoyment of your profession is 
like that lease which a prodigal wishes to have of a wealthy 
widow. You have already survived the law which you studied, 
and its expiry doubtless has not been without a legacy — some 
decent pickings, some merciful increases, as the phrase goes. 
You have deserved it two ways — you wore buff and bandoleer, 
as well as wielded pen and ink — I have not heard if you held 
forth too." 

" Think of me and speak of me as harshly as you will, sir," 
said Everard submissively. " I have but, in this evil time, guided 
myself by my conscience, and my father's commands." 

"Oh, an you talk of conscience," said the old knight, "I must 
have mine eye upon you, as Hamlet says. Never yet did Puritan 
cheat so grossly as when he was appealing to his conscience ; 
and as for thy father " 

He was about to proceed in a tone of the same invective, 
when the young man interrupted him, by saying, in a firm 
tone, " Sir Henry Lee, you have ever been thought noble — Say 
of me what you will, but speak not of my father what the ear 
of a son should not endure, and which yet his arm cannot resent. 
To do me such wrong is to insult an unarmed man, or to beat 
a captive." 

Sir Henry paused, as if struck by the remark. "Thou hast 
spoken truth in that, Mark, wert thou the blackest Puritan 
whom hell ever vomited, to distract an unhappy country." 

" Be that as you will to think it," replied Everard ; te but let 
me not leave you to the shelter of this wretched hovel. The 
night is drawing to storm — let me but conduct you to the Lodge, 



44 WOODSTOCK 

and expel those intruders, who can, as yet at least, have no 
warrant for what they do. I will not linger a moment behind 
them, save just to deliver my father's message. — Grant me but 
this much, for the love you once bore me ! " 

"Yes, Mark," answered his uncle firmly, but sorrowfully, 
"thou speakest truth — I did love thee once. The bright- 
haired boy whom I taught to ride, to shoot, to hunt — whose 
hours of happiness were spent with me, wherever those of graver 
labours were employed — I did love that boy — ay, and I am weak 
enough to love even the memory of what he was. — But he is 
gone, Mark — he is gone ; and in his room I only behold an 
avowed and determined rebel to his religion and to his king — 
a rebel more detestable on account of his success, the more 
infamous through the plundered wealth with which he hopes to 
gild his villainy. — But I am poor, thou think' st, and should hold 
my peace, lest men say, c Speak, sirrah, when you should.' — 
Know, however, that, indigent and plundered as I am, I feel 
myself dishonoured in holding even but this much talk with the 
tool of usurping rebels. — Go to the Lodge, if thou wilt — yonder 
lies the way — but think not that, to regain my dwelling there, 
or all the wealth I ever possessed in my wealthiest days, 1 would 
willingly accompany thee three steps on the greensward. If I 
must be thy companion, it shall be only when thy red-coats have 
tied my hands behind me, and bound my legs beneath my 
horse's belly. Thou mayst be my fellow traveller then, I grant 
thee, if thou wilt, but not sooner." 

Alice, who suffered cruelly during this dialogue, and was well 
aware that farther argument would only kindle the knight's 
resentment still more highly, ventured at last, in her anxiety, 
to make a sign to her cousin to break off the interview, and to 
retire, since her father commanded his absence in a manner so 
peremptory. Unhappily, she was observed by Sir Henry, who, 
concluding that what he saw was evidence of a private under- 
standing betwixt the cousins, his wrath acquired new fuel, and 
it required the utmost exertion of self-command, and recollec- 
tion of all that was due to his own dignity, to enable him to 
veil his real fury under the same ironical manner which he had 
adopted at the beginning of this angry interview. 

te If thou art afraid," he said, " to trace our forest glades by 
night, respected stranger, to whom I am perhaps bound to do 
honour as my successor in the charge of these walks, here seems 
to be a modest damsel, who will be most willing to wait on 
thee, and be thy bow-bearer. — Only, for her mother's sake, 
let there pass some slight form of marriage between you — 
Ye need no licence or priest in these happy days, but may be 
buckled like beggars in a ditch, with a hedge for a church- 
roof, and a tinker for a priest. I crave pardon of you for 



WOODSTOCK 



45 



making such an officious and simple request — perhaps you are 
a Ranter — or one of the family of Love, or hold marriage rites 
as unnecessary, as Knipperdoling, or Jack of Leyden ? " 

" For mercy's sake, forbear such dreadful jesting, my father ! 
and do you, Markham, begone, in God's name, and leave us to 
our fate — your presence makes my father rave." 

"Jesting!" said Sir Henry, "I was never more serious — 
Raving ! — I was never more composed. I could never brook 
that falsehood should approach me — I would no more bear by 
my side a dishonoured daughter than a dishonoured sword ; and 
this unhappy day hath shown that both can fail." 

"Sir Henry," said young Everard, "load not your soul with 
a heavy crime, which be assured you do, in treating your 
daughter thus unjustly. It is long now since you denied her to 
me, when we were poor and you were powerful. I acquiesced 
in your prohibition of all suit and intercourse. God knoweth 
what I suffered — but I acquiesced. Neither is it to renew my 
suit that I now come hither, and have, I do acknowledge, 
sought speech of her — not for her own sake only, but for yours 
also. Destruction hovers over you, ready to close her pinions 
to stoop, and her talons to clutch — Yes, sir, look contemptuous 
as you will, such is the case ; and it is to protect both you and 
her that I am here." 

" You refuse then my free gift," said Sir Henry Lee ; " or 
perhaps you think it loaded with too hard conditions ? " 

"Shame, shame on you, Sir Henry," said Everard, waxing 
warm in his turn; "have your political prejudices so utterly 
warped every feeling of a father, that you can speak with bitter 
mockery and scorn of what concerns your own daughter's 
honour? — Hold up your head, fair Alice, and tell your father 
he has forgotten nature in his fantastic spirit of loyalty. — 
Know, Sir Henry, that though I would prefer your daughter's 
hand to every blessing which Heaven could bestow on me, I 
would not accept it — my conscience would not permit me 
to do so — when I knew it must withdraw her from her duty 
to you." 

" Your conscience is over scrupulous, young man ; — carry it 
to some dissenting rabbi, and he who takes all that comes to 
net, will teach thee it is sinning against our mercies to refuse 
any good thing that is freely offered to us." 

" When it is freely offered, and kindly offered — not when the 
offer is made in irony and insult — Fare thee well, Alice. — if 
aught could make me desire . to profit by thy father's wild wish 
to cast thee from him in a moment of unworthy suspicion, it 
would be that while indulging in such sentiments, Sir Henry 
Lee is tyrannically oppressing the creature, who of all others is 
most dependent on his kindness — who of all others will most 



4 6 



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feel his severity, and whom, of all others, he is most bound to 
cherish and support." 

" Do not fear for me, Mr. Everard," exclaimed Alice, aroused 
from her timidity by a dread of the consequences not unlikely 
to ensue, where civil war sets relations, as well as fellow-citizens, 
in opposition to each other. — "Oh, begone, I conjure you, 
begone ! Nothing stands betwixt me and my father's kindness, 
but these unhappy family divisions — but your ill-timed presence 
here — for Heaven's sake, leave us ! " 

" Soh, mistress ! " answered the hot old cavalier, " you play 
lady paramount already ; and who but you ! — you would dictate 
to our train, I warrant, like Goneril and Regan ! But I tell 
thee, no man shall leave my house — and, humble as it is, this is 
now my house — while he has aught to say to me that is to be 
spoken, as this young man now speaks, with a bent brow and 
a lofty tone. — Speak out, sir, and say your worst ! " 

"Fear not my temper, Mrs. Alice," said Everard, with equal 
firmness and placidity of manner ; " and you, Sir Henry, do not 
think that if I speak firmly, I mean therefore to speak in anger, 
or officiously. You have taxed me with much, and, were I 
guided by the wild spirit of romantic chivalry, much which, 
even from so near a relative, I ought not, as being by birth, and 
in the world's estimation, a gentleman, to pass over without 
reply. Is it your pleasure to give me patient hearing ? " 

"If you stand on your defence," answered the stout old 
knight, "God forbid that you should not challenge a patient 
hearing — ay, though your pleading were two parts disloyalty 
and one blasphemy — Only, be brief — this has already lasted 
but too long." 

"I will, Sir Henry," replied the young man; "yet it is hard 
to crowd into a few sentences, the defence of a life which, 
though short, has been a busy one — too busy, your indignant 
gesture would assert. But I deny it ; I have drawn my sword 
neither hastily, nor without due consideration, for a people 
whose rights have been trampled on, and whose consciences 
have been oppressed — Frown not, sir — such is not your view 
of the contest, but such is mine. For my religious principles, 
at which you have scoffed, believe me, that though they depend 
not on set forms, they are no less sincere than your own, and 
thus far purer — excuse the word — that they are unmingled 
with the bloodthirsty dictates of a barbarous age, which you 
and others have called the code of chivalrous honour. Not my 
own natural disposition, but the better doctrine which my creed 
has taught, enables me to bear your harsh revilings without 
answering in a similar tone of wrath and reproach. You may 
carry insult to extremity against me at your pleasure — not on 
account of our relationship alone, but because I am bound in 



WOODSTOCK 



47 



charity to endure it. This, Sir Henry, is much from one of our 
house. But, with forbearance far more than this requires, I can 
refuse at your hands the gift, which, most of all things under 
heaven, I should desire to obtain, because duty calls upon her 
to sustain and comfort you, and because it were sin to permit 
you, in your blindness, to spurn your comforter from your side. — 
Farewell, sir — not in anger— but in pity — We may meet in a 
better time, when your heart and your principles shall master 
the unhappy prejudices by which they are now overclouded. — 
Farewell — farewell, Alice ! " 

The last words were repeated twice, and in a tone of feeling 
and passionate grief, which differed utterly from the steady and 
almost severe tone in which he had addressed Sir Henry Lee. 
He turned and left the hut so soon as he had uttered these last 
words ; and, as if ashamed of the tenderness which had mingled 
with his accents, the young commonwealth's-man turned and 
walked sternly and resolvedly forth into the moonlight, which 
now was spreading its broad light and autumnal shadows over 
the woodland. 

So soon as he departed, Alice, who had been during the 
whole scene in the utmost terror that her father might have 
been hurried, by his natural heat of temper, from violence of 
language into violence of action, sunk down upon a settle 
twisted out of willow boughs, like most of Joceline's few mov- 
ables, and endeavoured to conceal the tears which accompanied 
the thanks she rendered in broken accents to Heaven, that, not- 
withstanding the near alliance and relationship of the parties, 
some fatal deed had not closed an interview so perilous and so 
angry. Phoebe Mayflower blubbered heartily for company, 
though she understood but little of what had passed ; just, 
indeed, enough to enable her afterwards to report to some half- 
dozen particular friends, that her old master, Sir Henry, had 
been perilous angry, and almost fought with young Master 
Everard, because he had well-nigh carried away her young 
mistress. — " And what could he have done better ? " said 
Phoebe, "seeing the old man had nothing left either for Mrs. 
Alice or himself ; and as for Mr. Mark Everard and our young 
lady, oh ! they had spoken such loving things to each other as 
are not to be found in the history of Argalus and Parthenia, 
who, as the story-book tells, were the truest pair of lovers in all 
Arcadia, and Oxfordshire to boot." 

Old Goody Jellycot had popped her scarlet hood into the 
kitchen more than once while the scene was proceeding ; but, 
as the worthy dame was parcel blind and more than parcel 
deaf, knowledge was excluded by two principal entrances ; and 
though she comprehended, by a sort of general instinct, that 
the gentlefolk were at high words, yet why they chose Joceline's 



4 8 



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hut for the scene of their dispute was as great a mystery as the 
subject of the quarrel. 

But what was the state of the old cavalier's mood, thus con- 
tradicted, as his most darling principles had been, by the last 
words of his departing nephew ? The truth is, that he was 
less thoroughly moved than his daughter expected ; and in all 
probability his nephew's bold defence of his religious and 
political opinions rather pacified than aggravated his displeasure. 
Although sufficiently impatient of contradiction, still evasion 
and subterfuge were more alien to the blunt old Ranger's 
nature than manly vindication and direct opposition ; and he 
was wont to say, that he ever loved the buck best who stood 
boldest at bay. He graced his nephew's departure, however, 
with a quotation from Shakspeare, whom, as many others do, 
he was wont to quote from a sort of habit and respect, as a 
favourite of his unfortunate master, without having either much 
real taste for his works or great skill in applying the passages 
which he retained on his memory. 

" Mark," he said, " mark this, Alice — the devil can quote 
Scripture for his purpose. Why, this young fanatic cousin of 
thine, with no more beard than I have seen on a clown play- 
ing Maid Marion on May-day, when the village barber had 
shaved him in too great a hurry, shall match any bearded 
Presbyterian or Independent of them all, in laying down his 
doctrines and his uses, and bethumping us with his texts and 
his homilies. I would worthy and learned Doctor Rochecliffe 
had been here, with his battery ready mounted from the 
Vulgate, and the Septuagint, and what not — he would have 
battered the presbyterian spirit out of him with a wanion. 
However, I am glad the young man is no sneaker ; for, were a 
man of the devil's opinion in religion, and of old Noll's in 
politics, he were better open on it full cry, than deceive you by 
hunting counter, or running a false scent. Come — wipe thine 
eyes — the fray is over, and not like to be stirred again soon, I 
trust." 

Encouraged by these words, Alice rose, and, bewildered as 
she was, endeavoured to superintend the arrangements for their 
meal and their repose in their new habitation. But her tears 
fell so fast, they marred her counterfeited diligence ; and it was 
well for her that Phoebe, though too ignorant and too simple 
to comprehend the extent of her distress, could afford her 
material assistance, in lack of mere sympathy. 

With great readiness and address, the damsel set about every- 
thing that was requisite for preparing the supper and the beds ; j 
now screaming into Dame Jellycot's ear, now whispering into 
her mistress's, and artfully managing, as if she was merely the 
agent, under Alice's orders. When the cold viands were set 



WOODSTOCK 49 

forth, Sir Henry Lee kindly pressed his daughter to take re- 
freshment, as if to make up, indirectly, for his previous harshness 
towards her ; while he himself, like an experienced campaigner, 
showed, that neither the mortifications nor brawls of the day, 
nor the thoughts of what was to come to-morrow, could diminish 
his appetite for supper, which was his favourite meal. He ate 
up two-thirds of the capon, and devoting the first bumper to 
the happy restoration of Charles, second of the name, he finished 
a quart of wine ; for he belonged to a school accustomed to 
feed the flame of their loyalty with copious brimmers. He even 
sang a verse of " The King shall enjoy his own again," in which 
Phoebe, half-sobbing, and Dame Jellycot, screaming against time 
and tune, were contented to lend their aid, to cover Mistress 
Alice's silence. 

At length the jovial knight betook himself to his rest on 
the keeper's straw pallet, in a recess adjoining to the kitchen, 
and, unaffected by his change of dwelling, slept fast and deep. 
Alice had less quiet rest in old Goody Jellycot's wicker couch, 
in the inner apartment ; while the dame and Phoebe slept on a 
mattress, stuffed with dry leaves, in the same chamber, soundly 
as those whose daily toil gains their daily bread, and whom 
morning calls up to renew the toils of yesterday. 



CHAPTER V 

My tongue pads slowly under this new language, 
And starts and stumbles at these uncouth phrases. 
They may be great in worth and weight, but hang 
Upon the native glibness of my language 
Like Saul's plate-armour on the shepherd boy, 
Encumbering and not arming him. 

—J. B. 

As Markham Everard pursued his way towards the Lodge, 
through one of the long sweeping glades which traversed the 
forest, varying in breadth, till the trees were now so close that 
the boughs made darkness over his head, then receding farther 
to let in glimpses of the moon, and anon opening yet wider 
into little meadows, or savannas, on which the moonbeams lay 
in silvery silence ; as he thus proceeded on his lonely course, 
the various effects produced by that delicious light on the oaks, 
whose dark leaves, gnarled branches, and massive trunks it 
gilded, more or less partially, might have drawn the attention 
of a poet or a painter. 

But if Everard thought of anything saving the painful scene 
in which he had just played his part, and of which the result 

D 



WOODSTOCK 



seemed the destruction of all his hopes, it was of the necessary 
guard to be observed in his night- walk. The times were 
dangerous and unsettled ; the roads full of disbanded soldiers, 
and especially of royalists, who made their political opinions a 
pretext for disturbing the country with marauding parties and 
robberies. Deer-stealers also, who are ever a desperate banditti, 
had of late infested Woodstock Chase. In short, the dangers 
of the place and period were such, that Markham Everard wore 
his loaded pistols at his belt, and carried his drawn sword under 
his arm, that he might be prepared for whatever peril should 
cross his path. 

He heard the bells of Woodstock Church ring curfew, just 
as he was crossing one of the little meadows we have described, 
and they ceased as he entered an overshadowed and twilight 
part of the path beyond. It was there that he heard some 
one whistling ; and, as the sound became clearer, it was plain 
the person was advancing towards him. This could hardly be 
a friend ; for the party to which he belonged rejected, gene- 
rally speaking, all, music, unless psalmody. " If a man is merry, 
let him sing psalms," was a text which they were pleased to j 
interpret as literally and to as little purpose as they did some 
others ; yet it was too continued a sound to be a signal amongst 
night-walkers, and too light and cheerful to argue any purpose 
of concealment on the part of the traveller, who presently ex- 
changed his whistling for singing, and trolled forth the following 
stanza to a jolly tune, with which the old cavaliers were wont 
to wake the night-owl : — 

Hey for cavaliers ! Ho for cavaliers ! 
Pray for cavaliers ! 

Rub a dub — rub a dub ! 

Have at old Beelzebub — 

Oliver smokes for fear. 

M I should know that voice," said Everard, uncocking the | 
pistol which he had drawn from his belt, but continuing to f 
hold in his hand. Then came another fragment : — 

Hash them — slash them — 
All to pieces dash them. 

"So ho ! " cried Markham, "who goes there, and for whom ? " j 

" For Church and King," answered a voice, which presently < 
added, "No, d — n me — I mean against Church and King, and | 
for the people that are uppermost — I forget which they are." 

" Roger Wildrake, as I guess ? " said Everard. 

"The same — Gentleman; of Squattlesea Mere, in the moist 
county of Lincoln." 



WOODSTOCK 51 

" Wildrake ! " said Markham — "Wildgoose you should be 
called. You have been moistening your own throat to some 
purpose, and using it to gabble tunes very suitable to the times, 
to be sure ! " 

"Faith, the tune's a pretty tune enough, Mark, only out of 
fashion a little — the more's the pity." 

"What could I expect," said Everard, "but to meet some 
ranting, drunken cavalier, as desperate and dangerous as night 
and sack usually make them. What if I had rewarded your 
melody by a ball in the gullet ? " 

" Why, there would have been a piper paid — that's all," said 
Wildrake. " But wherefore come you this way now ? I was 
about to seek you at the hut." 

" I have been obliged to leave it — I will tell you the cause 
hereafter," replied Markham. 

" What ! the old play-hunting cavalier was cross, or Chloe 
was unkind ? " 

" Jest not, Wildrake — it is all over with me," said Everard. 

"The devil it is," exclaimed Wildrake, "and you take it 
thus quietly ! — Zounds ! let us back together — I'll plead your 
cause for you — I know how to tickle up an old knight and a 
pretty maiden — Let me alone for putting you rectus in curia, 
you canting rogue. — D — n me, Sir Henry Lee, says I, your 
nephew is a piece of a Puritan — it won't deny — but I'll uphold 
him a gentleman and a pretty fellow, for all that. — Madam, 
says I, you may think your cousin looks like a psalm-singing 
weaver, in that bare felt, and with that rascally brown cloak ; 
that band, which looks like a baby's clout, and those loose 
boots, which have a whole calf-skin in each of them, — but let 
him wear on the one side of his head a castor, with a plume 
befitting his quality ; give him a good Toledo by his side, with 
a broidered belt and an inlaid hilt, instead of the ton of iron 
contained in that basket-hilted black Andrew Ferrara ; put a 
few smart words in his mouth — and, blood and wounds ! madam, 
says I " 

" Prithee, truce with this nonsense, Wildrake," said Everard, 
" and tell me if you are sober enough to hear a few words of 
sober reason ? " 

" Pshaw ! man, I did but crack a brace of quarts with yonder 
puritanic, roundheaded soldiers, up yonder at the town ; and 
rat me but I passed myself for the best man of the party ; 
twanged my nose, and turned up my eyes, as I took my can — 
Pah ! the very wine tasted of hypocrisy. I think the rogue 
corporal smoked something at last — as for the common fellows, 
never stir, but they asked me to say grace over another quart ! " 

" This is just what I wished to speak with you about, Wildrake," 
said Markham — " You hold me, I am sure, for your friend ? " 



WOODSTOCK 



"True as steel. — Chums at College and at Lincoln's Inn — ■ 
we have been Nisus and Euryalus, Theseus and Pirithous, 
Orestes and Pylades ; and, to sum up the whole with a puri- 
tanic touch, David and Jonathan, all in one breath. Not even 
politics, the wedge that rends families and friendships asunder, 
as iron rives oak, have been able to split us." 

" True," answered Markham ; " and when you followed the 
King to Nottingham, and I enrolled under Essex, we swore, at 
our parting, that which ever side was victorious, he of us who 
adhered to it, should protect his less fortunate comrade." 

" Surely, man, surely ; and have you not protected me ac- 
cordingly ? Did you not save me from hanging ? and am I not 
indebted to you for the bread I eat ? " 

" I have but done that which, had the times been otherwise,, 
you, my dear Wildrake, would, I am sure, have done for me. 
But, as I said, that is just what I wished to speak to you about. 
Why render the task of protecting you more difficult than it 
must necessarily be at any rate ? Why thrust thyself into the 
company of soldiers, or such like, where thou art sure to be 
warmed into betraying thyself? Why come hollowing and 
whooping out cavalier ditties, like a drunken trooper of Prince 
Rupert, or one of Wilmot's swaggering body-guards ? " 

" Because I may have been both one and t'other in my day, 
for aught that you know," replied Wildrake. " But, oddsfish ! 
is it necessary I should always be reminding you, that our 
obligation of mutual protection, our league of offensive and 
defensive, as I may call it, was to be carried into effect without 
reference to the politics or religion of the party protected, or 
the least obligation on him to conform to those of his friend ? " 

"True," said Everard ; "but with this most necessary qualifi- 
cation, that the party should submit to such outward conformity 
to the times as should make it more easy and safe for his friend 
to be of service to him. Now, you are perpetually breaking 
forth, to the hazard of you own safety and my credit." 

" I tell you, Mark, and I would tell your namesake the 
apostle, that you are hard on me. You have practised sobriety 
and hypocrisy from your hanging sleeves till your Geneva 
cassock — from the cradle to this day, — and it is a thing of 
nature to you; and you are surprised that a rough, rattling, 
honest fellow, accustomed to speak truth all his life, and espe- 
cially when he found it at the bottom of a flask, cannot be so 
perfect a prig as thyself — Zooks ! there is no equality betwixt 
us — A trained diver might as well, because he can retain his 
breath for ten minutes without inconvenience, upbraid a poor 
devil for being like to burst in twenty seconds, at the bottom 
of ten fathoms water — And, after all, considering the guise is 
so new to me, I think I bear myself indifferently well — try me!" 



WOODSTOCK 



53 



" Are there any more news from Worcester fight ? " asked 
Everard, in a tone so serious that it imposed on his companion, 
who replied in his genuine character — 

"Worse! — d — n me, worse an hundred times than reported 
— totally broken. Noll hath certainly sold himself to the devil, 
and his lease will have an end one day — that is all our present 
comfort." 

" What ! and would this be your answer to the first red- 
coat who asked the question?" said Everard. "Methinks you 
would find a speedy passport to the next corps de garde." 

"Nay, nay," answered Wildrake, "I thought you asked me 
in your own person. — Lack-a-day ! a great mercy — a glorifying 
mercy — a crowning mercy — a vouchsafing — an uplifting — I 
profess the malignants are scattered from Dan to Beersheba — 
smitten, hip and thigh, even until the going down of the sun ! " 

"Hear you aught of Colonel Thornhaugh's wounds ? " 

"He is dead," answered Wildrake, "that's one comfort — the 
roundheaded rascal ! — Nay, hold ! it was but a trip of the tongue 
— 1 meant, the sweet godly youth." 

" And hear you ought of the young man, King of Scotland, 
as they call him?" said Everard. 

"Nothing, but that he is hunted like a partridge on the 
mountains. May God deliver him, and confound his enemies ! 
— Zoons, Mark Everard, I can fool it no longer. Do you not 
remember, that at the Lincoln's-Inn gambols — though you did 
not mingle much in them, I think — I used always to play as 
well as any of them when it came to the action, !>ut they could 
never get me to rehearse conformably. It's the same at this 
day. I hear your voice, and I answer to it in the true tone of 
my heart ; but when I am in the company of your snuffling 
friends, you have seen me act my part indifferent well." 
. "But indifferent, indeed," replied Everard; "however, there 
is little call on you to do aught, save to be modest and silent. 
Speak little, and lay aside, if you can, your big oaths and 
swaggering looks — set your hat even on your brows." 

" Ay, that is the curse ! I have been always noted for the 
jaunty manner in which I wear my castor — Hard when a man's 
merits become his enemies ! " 

"You must remember you are my clerk." 

" Secretary," answered Wildrake ; " let it be secretary if you 
love me." 

" It must be clerk, and nothing else — plain clerk — and 
remember to be civil and obedient," replied Everard. 

"But you should not lay on your commands with so much 
ostentatious superiority, Master Markham Everard. Remember 
I am your senior of three years' standing. Confound me, if I 
know how to take it ! " 



54 



WOODSTOCK 



" Was ever such a fantastic wronghead ! — For my sake, if not 
for thine own, bend thy freakish folly to listen to reason. Think 
that I have incurred both risk and shame on thy account." 

" Nay, thou art a right good fellow, Mark/' replied the cava- 
lier ; " and for thy sake I will do much — but remember to 
cough, and cry hem ! when thou seest me like to break bounds. 
And now, tell me whither we are bound for the night." 

"To Woodstock Lodge, to look after my uncle's property," 
answered Markham Everard ; " I am informed that soldiers 
have taken possession — Yet how could that be if thou foundest 
the party drinking in Woodstock ? " 

" There was a kind of commissary or steward, or some such 
rogue, had gone down to the Lodge," replied Wildrake ; " I 
had a peep at him." 

" Indeed ! " replied Everard. 

"Ay, verily," said Wildrake, "to speak your own language. 
Why, as I passed through the park in quest of you, scarce half- 
an-hour since, I saw a light in the Lodge — Step this way, you 
will see it yourself." 

" In the north-west angle ? " returned Everard. " It is from 
a window in what they call Victor Lee's apartment." 

" Well," resumed Wildrake, " I had been long one of Lunds- 
ford's lads, and well used to patrolling duty — So, rat me, says ; 
I, if I leave a light in my rear, without knowing what it means, j 
Besides, Mark, thou hadst said so much to me of thy pretty 
cousin, I thought I might as well have a peep, if I could." 

" Thoughtless, incorrigible man ! to what dangers do you 
expose yourself and your friends, in mere wantonness ! But i 
go on." 

" By this fair moonshine, I believe thou art jealous, Mark 
Everard ! " replied his gay companion ; " there is no occasion ; I 
for, in any case, I, who was to see the lady, was steeled by \ 
honour against the charms of my friend's Chloe — Then the 
lady was not to see me, so could make no comparisons to thy \ 
disadvantage, thou knowest — Lastly, as it fell out, neither of 
us saw the other at all." 

" Of that I am well aware. Mrs. Alice left the Lodge long 
before sunset, and never returned. What didst thou see to I 
introduce with such preface ? " 

" Nay, no great matter," replied Wildrake ; " only getting 
upon a sort of buttress (for I can climb like any cat that ever > 
mewed in any gutter), and holding on by the vines and creepers 
which grew around, I obtained a station where I could see into 
the inside of that same parlour thou spokest of just now." 

"And what saw'st thou there?" once more demanded 
Everard. 

" Nay, no great matter, as I said before," replied the cavalier ; 



WOODSTOCK 



55 



"for in these times it is no new thing to see churls carousing 
in royal or noble chambers. I saw two rascallions engaged in 
emptying a solemn stoup of strong waters, and despatching a 
huge venison pasty, which greasy mess, for their convenience, 
they had placed on a lady's work-table — One of them was trying 
an air on a lute." 

"The profane villains!" exclaimed Everard, "it was Alice's." 

" Well said, comrade — I am glad your phlegm can be moved. 
I did but throw in these incidents of the lute and the table, to 
try if it was possible to get a spark of human spirit out of you, 
besanctified as you are." 

" What like were the men ? " said young Everard. 

"The one a slouch-hatted, long-cloaked, sour-faced fanatic, 
like the rest of you, whom I took to be the steward or com- 
missary I heard spoken of in the town ; the other was a short 
sturdy fellow, with a wood-knife at his girdle, and a long 
quarter-staff lying beside him — a black-haired knave, with 
white teeth and a merry countenance — one of the under-rangers 
or bow-bearers of these walks, I fancy." 

" They must have been Desborough's favourite, trusty Tom- 
kins," said Everard, " and Joceline Joliffe, the keeper. Tomkins 
is Desborough's right hand — an Independent, and hath pourings 
forth, as he calls them. Some think that his gifts have the 
better of his grace. I have heard of his abusing opportunities." 

"They were improving them when I saw them," replied 
Wildrake, "and made the bottle smoke for it — when, as the 
devil would have it, a stone, which had been dislodged from 
the crumbling buttress, gave way under my weight. A clumsy 
fellow like thee would have been so long thinking what was to 
be done, that he must needs have followed it before he could 
make up his mind ; but I, Mark, I hopped like a squirrel to 
an ivy twig, and stood fast — was well-nigh shot, though, for 
the noise alarmed them both. They looked to the oriel, and 
saw me on the outside ; the fanatic fellow took out a pistol — 
as they have always such texts in readiness hanging beside the 
little clasped Bible, thou know'st — the keeper seized his hunt- 
ing pole — I treated them both to a roar and a grin — thou must 
know I can grimace like a baboon — I learned the trick from a 
French player, who could twist his jaws into a pair of nut- 
crackers — and therewithal I dropped myself sweetly on the 
grass, and ran off so trippingly, keeping the dark side of the 
wall as long as I could, that I am well-nigh persuaded they 
thought I was their kinsman, the devil, come among them 
uncalled. They were abominably startled." 

"Thou art most fearfully rash, Wildrake," said his com- 
panion ; " we are now bound for the house — what if they should 
remember thee ? " 



WOODSTOCK 



" Why, it is no treason, is it ? No one has paid for peeping 
since Tom of Coventry's days ; and if he came in for a reckon- 
ing, belike it was for a better treat than mine. But trust me, 
they will no more know me, than a man who had only seen 
your friend Noll at a conventicle of saints, would know the 
same Oliver on horseback, and charging with his lobster- tailed 
squadron ; or the same Noll cracking a jest and a bottle with 
wicked Waller the poet." 

" Hush ! not a word of Oliver, as thou dost value thyself 
and me. It is ill jesting with the rock you may split on. — But 
here is the gate — we will disturb these honest gentlemen's 
recreations." 

As he spoke, he applied the large and ponderous knocker to 
the hall-door. 

" Rat-tat-tat- too ! " said Wildrake ; " there is a fine alarm to 
you cuckolds and roundheads." He then half-mimicked, half- 
sung the march so called : — 

" Cuckolds, come dig, cuckolds, come dig ; 
Hound about cuckolds, come dance to my jig ! " 

" By Heaven ! this passes Midsummer frenzy," said Everard, 
turning angrily to him. 

"Not a bit, not a bit," replied Wildrake; "it is but a slight 
expectoration, just like what one makes before beginning a 
long speech. I will be grave for an hour together, now I have 
got that point of war out of my head." 

As he spoke, steps were heard in the hall, and the wicket of 
the great door was partly opened, but secured with a chain in 
case of accidents. The visage of Tomkins, and that of Joceline 
beneath it, appeared at the chink, illuminated by the lamp 
which the latter held in his hand, and Tomkins demanded the 
meaning of this alarm. 

"I demand instant admittance!" said Everard. "Joliffe, 
you know me well ? " 

" I do, sir," replied Joceline, " and could admit you with all 
my heart ; but, alas ! sir, you see I am not key-keeper — Here 
is the gentleman whose warrant I must walk by — The Lord help 
me, seeing times are such as they be ! " 

" And when that gentleman, who I think may be Master 
Desborough's valet " 

" His honour's unworthy secretary, an it please you," inter- 
posed Tomkins ; while Wildrake whispered in Everard's ear, 
" I will be no longer secretary. Mark, thou wert quite right — 
the clerk must be the more gentlemanly calling." 

" And if you are Master Desborough's secretary, I presume | 
you know me and my condition well enough," said Everard, 



WOODSTOCK 57 

addressing the Independent, " not to hesitate to admit me and 
my attendant to a night's quarters in the Lodge ? " 

"Surely not, surely not," said the Independent — "that is, if 
your worship thinks you would be better accommodated here 
than up at the house of entertainment in the town, which men 
unprofitably call Saint George's Inn. There is but confined 
accommodation here, your honour — and we have been frayed 
out of our lives already by the visitation of Satan — albeit his 
fiery dart is now quenched." 

"This may be all well in its place, Sir Secretary," said 
Everard ; " and you may find a corner for it when you are next 
tempted to play the preacher. But I will take it for no 
apology for keeping me here in the cold harvest wind ; and if 
not presently received, and suitably too, I will report you to 
your master for insolence in your office." 

The secretary of Desborough did not dare offer farther 
opposition ; for it is well known that Desborough himself only 
held his consequence as a kinsman of Cromwell ; and the Lord 
General, who was well-nigh paramount already, was known to 
be strongly favourable both to the elder and younger Everard. 
It is true, they were Presbyterians and he an Independent ; 
and that though sharing those feelings of correct morality and 
more devoted religious feeling, by which, with few exceptions, 
the Parliamentary party were distinguished, the Everards were 
not disposed to carry these attributes to the extreme of enthu- 
siasm, practised by so many others at the time. Yet it was 
well known that whatever might be Cromwell's own religious 
creed, he was not uniformly bounded by it in the choice of his 
favourites, but extended his countenance to those who could 
serve him, even although, according to the phrase of the time, 
they came out of the darkness of Egypt. The character of the 
elder Everard stood very high for wisdom and sagacity ; besides, 
being of a good family and competent fortune, his adherence 
would lend a dignity to any side he might espouse. Then his 
son had been a distinguished and successful soldier, remarkable 
for the discipline he maintained among his men, the bravery 
which he showed in the time of action, and the humanity with 
which he was always ready to qualify the consequences of 
victory. Such men were not to be neglected, when many signs 
combined to show that the parties in the State, who had success- 
fully accomplished the deposition and death of the King, were 
speedily to quarrel among themselves about the division of the 
spoils. The two Everards were therefore much courted by 
Cromwell, and their influence with him was supposed to be so 
great, that trusty Master Secretary Tomkins cared not to ex- 
pose himself to risk, by contending with Colonel Everard for 
such a trifle as a night's lodging. 



58 WOODSTOCK 

Joceline was active on his side — more lights were obtained — 
more wood thrown on the fire — and the two newly arrived 
strangers were introduced into Victor Lee's parlour, as it was 
called, from the picture over the chimney-piece, which we have 
already described. It was several minutes ere Colonel Everard 
could recover his general stoicism of deportment, so strongly 
was he impressed by finding himself in the apartment, under 
whose roof he had passed so many of the happiest hours of his 
life. There was the cabinet, which he had seen opened with 
such feelings of delight when Sir Henry Lee deigned to give 
him instructions in fishing, and to exhibit hooks and lines, 
together with all the materials for making the artificial fly, 
then little known. There hung the ancient family picture, 
which, from some odd mysterious expressions of his uncle 
relating to it, had become to his boyhood, nay, his early youth, 
a subject of curiosity and of fear. He remembered how, when 
left alone in the apartment, the searching eye of the old warrior 
seemed always bent upon his, in whatever part of the room he 
placed himself, and how his childish imagination was perturbed 
at a phenomenon, for which he could not account. 

With these came a thousand dearer and warmer recollections 
of his early attachment to his pretty cousin Alice, when he 
assisted her at her lessons, brought water for her flowers, or 
accompanied her while she sung ; and he remembered that 
while her father looked at them with a good-humoured and 
careless smile, he had once heard him mutter, "And if it 
should turn out so — why, it might be best for both," and the 
theories of happiness he had reared on these words. All these 
visions had been dispelled by the trumpet of war, which called 
Sir Henry Lee and himself to opposite sides ; and the transac- 
tions of this very day had shown, that even Everard' s success 
as a soldier and a statesman seemed absolutely to prohibit the 
chance of their being revived. 

He was waked out of this unpleasing reverie by the approach 
of Joceline, who, being possibly a seasoned toper, had made the 
additional arrangements with more expedition and accuracy, 
than could have been expected from a person engaged as he 
had been since nightfall. 

He now wished to know the Colonel's directions for the night. 

" Would he eat anything ? " 

" No." 

" Did his honour choose to accept Sir Henry Lee's bed, which 
was ready prepared ? " 
« Yes." 

"That of Mistress Alice Lee should be prepared for the 
Secretary." 

" On pain of thine ears — No," replied Everard. 



WOODSTOCK 



59 



a Where then was the worthy Secretary to be quartered ? " 

w In the dog-kennel, if you list," replied Colonel Everard ; 
u but/' added he, stepping to the sleeping apartment of Alice, 
which opened from the parlour, locking it, and taking out the 
key, "no one shall profane this chamber." 

" Had his honour any other commands for the night ? " 

" None, save to clear the apartment of yonder man. My 
clerk will remain with me — I have orders which must be written 
out. — Yet stay — Thou gavest my letter this morning to Mistress 
Alice ? " 

"I did." 

"Tell me, good Joceline, what she said when she re- 
ceived it ? " 

"She seemed much concerned, sir; and indeed I think that 
she wept a little — but indeed she seemed very much distressed." 

" And what message did she send to me ? " 

" None, may it please your honour — She began to say, ' Tell 
my cousin Everard that I will communicate my uncle's kind 
purpose to my father, if I can get fitting opportunity — but that 
I greatly fear ' — and there checked herself, as it were, and said, 
e I will write to my cousin ; and as it may be late ere I have an 
opportunity of speaking with my father, do thou come for my 
answer after service.' — So I went to church myself, to while 
away the time ; but when I returned to the Chase, I found 
this man had summoned my master to surrender, and, right or 
wrong, I must put him in possession of the Lodge. I would 
fain have given your honour a hint that the old knight and my 
young mistress were like to take you on the form, but I could 
not mend the matter." 

"Thou hast done well, good fellow, and I will remember 
thee. — And now, my masters," he said, advancing to the brace 
of clerks or secretaries, who had in the meanwhile sat quietly down 
beside the stone bottle, and made up acquaintance over a glass of 
its contents — "Let me remind you, that the night wears late." 

" There is something cries tinkle, tinkle, in the bottle yet," 
said Wild rake in reply. 

" Hem ! hem ! hem ! " coughed the Colonel of the Parliament 
service ; and if his lips did not curse his companion's imprudence, 
I will not answer for what arose in his heart. — " Well ! " he said, 
observing that Wildrake had filled his own glass and Tomkins's, 
" take that parting glass and begone." 

"Would you not be pleased to hear first," said Wildrake, 
" how this honest gentleman saw the devil to-night look through 
a pane of yonder window, and how he thinks he had a mighty 
strong resemblance to your worship's humble slave and varlet 
scribbler ? Would you but hear this, sir, and just sip a glass 
of this very recommendable strong waters ? " 



6o 



WOODSTOCK 



" I will drink none, sir/' said Colonel Everard sternly ; " and 
I have to tell you, that you have drunken a glass too much 
already. — Mr. Tomkins, sir, I wish you good night." 

"A word in season at parting/' said Tomkins, standing up 
behind the long leathern back of a chair, hemming and snuffling 
as if preparing for an exhortation. 

"Excuse me, sir," replied Markham Everard sternly; "you 
are not now sufficiently yourself to guide the devotion of others." 

"Woe be to them that reject!" said the Secretary of the 
Commissioners, stalking out of the room — the rest was lost in 
shutting the door, or suppressed for fear of offence. 

" And now, fool Wildrake, begone to thy bed — yonder it 
lies," pointing to the knight's apartment. 

" What, thou hast secured the lady's for thyself ? I saw thee 
put the key in thy pocket." 

" I would not — indeed I could not sleep in that apartment — 
I can sleep nowhere — but I will watch in this arm-chair. — I 
have made him place wood for repairing the fire. — Good now, 
go to bed thyself, and sleep off thy liquor." 

" Liquor ! — I laugh thee to scorn, Mark — thou art a milksop, 
and the son of a milksop, and know'st not what a good fellow 
can do in the way of crushing an honest cup." 

" The whole vices of his faction are in this poor fellow indivi- 
dually," said the Colonel to himself, eyeing his protege askance, 
as the other retreated into the bedroom, with no very steady 
pace — " He is reckless, intemperate, dissolute ; — and if I cannot 
get him safely shipped for France, he will certainly be both his 
own ruin and mine. — Yet, withal, he is kind, brave, and gene- 
rous, and would have kept the faith with me which he now 
expects from me ; and in what consists the merit of our truth, 
if we observe not our plighted word when we have promised, to 
our hurt? I will take the liberty, however, to secure myself 
against further interruption on his part." 

So saying, he locked the door of communication betwixt the 
sleeping-room, to which the cavalier had retreated, and the par- 
lour ; — and then, after pacing the floor thoughtfully, returned 
to his seat, trimmed the lamp, and drew out a number of letters. 
— " I will read these over once more," he said, " that, if possible, 
the thought of public affairs may expel this keen sense of per- 
sonal sorrow. Gracious Providence, where is this to end ! We 
have sacrificed the peace of our families, the warmest wishes of 
our young hearts, to right the country in which we were born, 
and to free her from oppression ; yet it appears, that every step 
we have made towards liberty, has but brought us in view of 
new and more terrific perils, as he who travels in a mountainous 
region, is, by every step which elevates him higher, placed in a 
situation of more imminent hazard." 



PHP*'" 

WOODSTOCK 6 1 

He read long and attentively, various tedious and embarrassed 
letters, in which the writers, placing before him the glory of God 
and the freedom and liberties of England as their supreme ends, 
could not, by all the ambagitory expressions they made use of, 
prevent the shrewd eye of Markham Everard from seeing, that 
self-interest and views of ambition were the principal moving 
springs at the bottom of their plots. 



CHAPTER VI 

Sleep steals on us even like his brother Death — 

We know not when it comes — we know it must come — 

We may affect to scorn and to contemn it, 

For 'tis the highest pride of human misery 

To say it knows not of an opiate ; 

Yet the reft parent, the despairing lover, 

Even the poor wretch who waits for execution, 

Feels this oblivion, against which he thought 

His woes had arm'd his senses, steal upon him, 

And through the fenceless citadel — the body — 

Surprise that haughty garrison — the mind. 

—Herbert. 

Colonel Everard experienced the truth contained in the verses 
of the quaint old bard whom we have quoted above. Amid 
private grief and anxiety for a country long a prey to civil war, 
and not likely to fall soon under any fixed or well-established 
form of government, Everard and his father had, like many 
others, turned their eyes to General Cromwell, as the person 
whose valour had made him the darling of the army, whose 
strong sagacity had hitherto predominated over the high talents 
by which he had been assailed in Parliament, as well as over 
his enemies in the field/and who was alone in the situation to 
settle the nation, as the phrase then went ; or, in other words, to 
dictate the mode of government. The father and son were both 
reputed to stand high in the General's favour. But Markham 
Everard was conscious of some particulars, which induced him 
to doubt whether Cromwell actually, and at heart, bore either to 
his father or to himself that goodwill which was generally be- 
lieved. He knew him for a profound politician, who could veil 
for any length of time his real sentiments of men and things, 
until they could be displayed without prejudice to his interest. 
And he moreover knew that the General was not likely to for- 
get the opposition which the Presbyterian party had offered to 
what Oliver called the Great Matter — the trial, namely, and 
execution of the King. In this opposition, his father and he 
had anxiously concurred, nor had the arguments, nor even the 



62 



WOODSTOCK 



half-expressed threats of Cromwell, induced them to flinch from 
that course, far less to permit their names to be introduced into 
the commission nominated to sit in judgment on that memorable 
occasion. 

This hesitation had occasioned some temporary coldness 
between the General and the Everards, father and son. But as 
the latter remained in the army, and bore arms under Cromwell 
both in Scotland and finally at Worcester, his services very 
frequently called forth the approbation of his commander. After 
the fight at Worcester, in particular, he was among the number 
of those officers on whom Oliver, rather considering the actual 
and practical extent of his own power, than the name under 
which he exercised it, was with difficulty withheld from imposing 
the dignity of Knights-Bannerets at his own will and pleasure. 
It therefore seemed that all recollection of former disagreement 
was obliterated, and that the Everards had regained their former 
stronghold in the General's affections. There were, indeed, 
several who doubted this, and who endeavoured to bring over 
this distinguished young officer to some other of the parties 
which divided the infant Commonwealth. But to these proposals 
he turned a deaf ear. Enough of blood, he said, had been 
spilled — it was time that the nation should have repose under a 
firmly established government, of strength sufficient to protect 
property, and of lenity enough to encourage the return of 
tranquillity. This, he thought, could only be accomplished by 
means of Cromwell, and the greater part of England was of the 
same opinion. It is true, that, in thus submitting to the domi- 
nation of a successful soldier, those who did so forgot the 
principles upon which they had drawn the sword against the 
late King. But in revolutions, stern and high principles are 
often obliged to give way to the current of existing circum- 
stances ; and in many a case, where wars have been waged for 
points of metaphysical right, they have been at last gladly 
terminated, upon the mere hope of obtaining general tran- 
quillity, as, after many a long siege, a garrison is often glad to 
submit on mere security for life and limb. 

Colonel Everard, therefore, felt that the support which he 
afforded Cromwell was only under the idea that, amid a choice 
of evils, the least was likely to ensue from a man of the General's 
wisdom and valour being placed at the head of the State ; and 
he was sensible, that Oliver himself was likely to consider his 
attachment as lukewarm and imperfect, and measure his grati- 
tude for it upon the same limited scale. 

In the meanwhile, however, circumstances compelled him 
to make trial of the General's friendship. The sequestration 
of Woodstock, and the warrant to the Commissioners to dispose 
of it as national property, had been long granted, but the interest 



WOODSTOCK 63 

of the elder Everard had for weeks and months deferred its 
execution. The hour was . now approaching when the blow 
could be no longer parried, especially as Sir Henry Lee, on his 
side, resisted every proposal of submitting himself to the existing 
government, and was therefore, now that his hour of grace was 
passed, enrolled in the list of stubborn and irreclaimable malig- 
nants, with whom the Council of State was determined no 
longer to keep terms. The only mode of protecting the old 
knight and his daughter, was to interest, if possible, the General 
himself in the matter; and revolving all the circumstances 
connected with their intercourse, Colonel Everard felt that a 
request, which would so immediately interfere with the interests 
of Desborough, the brother-in-law of Cromwell, and one of the 
present Commissioners, was putting to a very severe trial the 
friendship of the latter. Yet no alternative remained. 

With this view, and agreeably to a request from Cromwell, 
who at parting had been very urgent to have his written opinion 
upon public affairs, Colonel Everard passed the earlier part of 
the night in arranging his ideas upon the state of the Common- 
wealth, in a plan which he thought likely to be acceptable 
to Cromwell, as it exhorted him, under the aid of Providence, 
to become the saviour of the State, by convoking a free Parlia- 
ment, and by their aid placing himself at the head of some 
form of liberal and established government, which might super- 
sede the state of anarchy in which the nation was otherwise 
likely to be merged. Taking a general view of the totally 
broken condition of the Royalists, and of the various factions 
which now convulsed the State, he showed how this might 
be done without bloodshed or violence. From this topic he 
descended to the propriety of keeping up the becoming state 
of the Executive Government, in whose hands soever it should 
be lodged, and thus showed Cromwell, as the future Stadtholder, 
or Consul, or Lieutenant-General of Great Britain and Ireland, 
a prospect of demesne and residences becoming his dignity. 
Then he naturally passed to the disparking and destroying 
of the royal residences of England, made a woeful picture of 
the demolition which impended over Woodstock, and interceded 
for the preservation of that beautiful seat, as a matter of personal 
favour, in which he found himself deeply interested. 

Colonel Everard, when he had finished his letter, did not 
find himself greatly risen in his own opinion. In the course of 
his political conduct, he had till this hour avoided mixing up 
personal motives with his public grounds of action, and yet he 
now felt himself making such a composition. But he comforted 
himself, or at least silenced this unpleasing recollection, with 
the consideration that the weal of Britain, studied under the 
aspect of the times, absolutely required that Cromwell should 



6 4 



WOODSTOCK 



be at the head of the government ; and that the interest of 
Sir Henry Lee, or rather his safety and his existence, no less 
emphatically demanded the preservation of Woodstock, and his 
residence there. Was it a fault of his, that the same road 
should lead to both these ends, or that his private interest, and 
that of the country, should happen to mix in the same letter ? 
He hardened himself, therefore, to the act, made up and 
addressed his packet to the Lord-General, and then sealed it 
with his seal of arms. This done, he lay back in the chair; 
and, in spite of his expectations to the contrary, fell asleep 
in the course of his reflections, anxious and harassing as they 
were, and did not awaken until the cold grey light of dawn 
was peeping through the eastern oriel. 

He started at first, rousing himself with the sensation of one 
who awakes in a place unknown to him ; but the localities 
instantly forced themselves on his recollection. The lamp 
burning dimly in the socket, the wood fire almost extinguished 
in its own white embers, the gloomy picture over the chimney- 
piece, the sealed packet on the table — all reminded him of the 
events of yesterday, and his deliberations of the succeeding 
night. 

" There is no help for it/' he said ; " it must be Cromwell or 
anarchy. And probably the sense that his title, as head of the 
Executive Government, is derived merely from popular consent, 
may check the too natural proneness of power to render itself 
arbitrary. If he govern by Parliaments, and with regard to 
the privileges of the subject, wherefore not Oliver as well as 
Charles ? But I must take measures for having this conveyed 
safely to the hands of this future sovereign prince. It will be 
well to take the first word of influence with him, since there 
must be many who will not hesitate to recommend counsels 
more violent and precipitate." 

He determined to entrust the important packet to the charge 
of Wildrake, whose rashness was never so distinguished, as 
when by any chance he was left idle and unemployed ; besides, j 
even if his faith had not been otherwise unimpeachable, the 
obligations which he owed to his friend Everard must have 
rendered it such. 

These conclusions passed through Colonel Everard's mind, as, 
collecting the remains of wood in the chimney, he gathered 
them into a hearty blaze, to remove the uncomfortable feeling I 
of dullness which pervaded his limbs ; and by the time he was r 
a little more warm, again sunk into a slumber, which was only 
dispelled by the beams of morning peeping into his apartment. 

He arose, roused himself, walked up and down the room, | 
and looked from the large oriel window on the nearest objects, 
which were the untrimmed hedges and neglected walks of a j 




WOODSTOCK 65 

certain wilderness, as it is called in ancient treatises on garden- 
ing, which, kept of yore well-ordered, and in all the pride of 
the topiary art, presented a succession of yew trees cut into 
fantastic forms, of close alleys, and of open walks, filling about 
two or three acres of ground on that side of the Lodge, and 
forming a boundary between its immediate precincts and the 
open Park. Its enclosure was now broken down in many 
places, and the hinds with their fawns fed free and unstartled 
up to the very windows of the silvan palace. 

This had been a favourite scene of Markham's sports when a 
boy. He could still distinguish, though now grown out of 
shape, the verdant battlements of a Gothic castle, all created 
by the gardener's shears, at which he was accustomed to shoot 
his arrows ; or, stalking before it like the Knight-errants of 
whom he read, was wont to blow his horn, and bid defiance to 
the supposed giant or Paynim knight, by whom it was garrisoned. 
He remembered how he used to train his cousin, though several 
years younger than himself, to bear a part in these revels of his 
boyish fancy, and to play the character of an elfin page, or a 
fairy, or an enchanted princess. He remembered, too, many 
particulars of their later acquaintance, from which he had been 
almost necessarily led to the conclusion, that from an early 
period their parents had entertained some idea, that there 
might be a well-fitted match betwixt his fair cousin and him- 
self. A thousand visions, formed in so bright a prospect, had 
vanished along with it, but now returned like shadows, to 
remind him of all he had lost — and for what ? — " For the sake 
of England/' his proud consciousness replied, — "Of England, 
in danger of becoming the prey at once of bigotry and tyranny." 
And he strengthened himself with the recollection, u If I have 
sacrificed my private happiness, it is that my country may 
enjoy liberty of conscience, and personal freedom ; which, 
under a weak prince and usurping statesman, she was but too 
likely to have lost." 

But the busy fiend in his breast would not be repulsed by 
the bold answer. "Has thy resistance," it demanded, "availed 
thy country, Markham Everard ? Lies not England, after so 
much bloodshed, and so much misery, as low beneath the 
sword of a fortunate soldier, as formerly under the sceptre of 
an encroaching prince ? Are Parliament, or what remains of 
them, fitted to contend with a leader, master of his soldiers' 
hearts, as bold and subtle as he is impenetrable in his designs ! 
This General who holds the army, and by that the fate of the 
nation in his hand, will he lay down his power because philosophy 
would pronounce it his duty to become a subject?" 

He dared not answer that his knowledge of Cromwell autho- 
rised him to expect any such act of self-denial. Yet still he 

£ 



66 



WOODSTOCK 



considered that in times of such infinite difficulty, that must be 
the best government, however little desirable in itself, which 
should most speedily restore peace to the land, and stop the 
wounds which the contending parties were daily inflicting on 
each other. He imagined that Cromwell was the only autho- 
rity under which a steady government could be formed, and 
therefore had attached himself to his fortune, though not 
without considerable and recurring doubts, how far serving 
the views of this impenetrable and mysterious General was 
consistent with the principles under which he had assumed 
arms. 

While these things passed in his mind, Everard looked upon 
the packet which lay on the table addressed to the Lord- 
General, and which he had made up before sleep. He hesitated 
several times, when he remembered its purport, and in what 
degree he must stand committed with that personage, and 
bound to support his plans of aggrandisement, when once that 
communication was in Oliver Cromwell's possession. 

" Yet it must be so," he said at last, with a deep sigh. 
" Among the contending parties, he is the strongest — the wisest 
and most moderate — and ambitious though he be, perhaps not 
the most dangerous. Some one must be trusted with power to 
preserve and enforce general order, and who can possess or wield 
such power like him that is head of the victorious armies of 
England ? Come what will in future, peace and the restoration 
of law ought to be our first and most pressing object. This 
remnant of a parliament cannot keep their ground against the 
army, by mere appeal to the sanction of opinion. If they design 
to reduce the soldiery, it must be by actual warfare, and the 
land has been too long steeped in blood. But Cromwell may, 
and I trust will, make a moderate accommodation with them, 
on grounds by which peace may be preserved ; and it is to 
this which we must look and trust for a settlement of the 
kingdom, alas ! and for the chance of protecting my obstinate 
kinsman from the consequences of his honest though absurd 
pertinacity." 

Silencing some internal feelings of doubt and reluctance by 
such reasoning as this, Markham Everard continued in his 
resolution to unite himself with Cromwell in the struggle which 
was evidently approaching betwixt the civil and military autho- 
rities ; not as the course which, if at perfect liberty, he would 
have preferred adopting, but as the best choice between two 
dangerous extremities to which the times had reduced him. 
He could not help trembling, however, when he recollected 
that his father, though hitherto the admirer of Cromwell, as 
the implement by whom so many marvels had been wrought 
in England, might not be disposed to unite with his interest 



WOODSTOCK 67 

against that of the Long Parliament, of which he had been, 
till partly laid aside by continued indisposition, an active and 
leading member. This doubt also he was obliged to swallow, 
or strangle, as he might ; but consoled himself with the ready 
argument, that it was impossible his father could see matters in 
another light than that in which they occurred to himself. 



CHAPTER VII 

Determined at length to despatch his packet to the General 
without delay, Colonel Everard approached the door of the 
apartment, in which, as was evident from the heavy breathing 
within, the prisoner Wildrake enjoyed a deep slumber, under 
the influence of liquor at once and of fatigue. In turning the 
key, the bolt, which was rather rusty, made a resistance so 
noisy, as partly to attract the sleeper's attention, though not to 
awake him. Everard stood by his bedside, as he heard him 
mutter, " Is it morning already, jailor ? — Why, you dog, an 
you had but a cast of humanity in you, you would qualify 
your vile news with a cup of sack ; — hanging is sorry work, my 
masters — and sorrow's dry." 

" Up, Wildrake — up, thou ill-omened dreamer," said his 
friend, shaking him by the collar. 

"Hands off!" answered the sleeper. — "I can climb a ladder 
without help, I trow." — He then sat up in the bed, and open- 
ing his eyes, stared around him, and exclaimed, " Zounds ! 
Mark, is it only thou ? I thought it was all over with me — 
fetters were struck from my legs — rope drawn round my gullet 
— irons knocked off my hands — hempen cravat tucked on — all 
ready for a dance in the open element upon slight footing." 

" Truce with thy folly, Wildrake ; sure the devil of drink, to 
whom thou hast, I think, sold thyself " 

" For a hogshead of sack," interrupted Wildrake ; " the 
bargain was made in a cellar in the Vintry." 

" I am as mad as thou art, to trust anything to thee," said 
Markham ; " I scarce believe thou hast thy senses yet." 

" What should ail me ? " said Wildrake — " I trust I have 
not tasted liquor in my sleep, saving that I dreamed of drink- 
ing small-beer with Old Noll, of his own brewing. But do not 
look so glum, man — I am the same Roger Wildrake that I 
ever was ; as wild as a mallard, but as true as a game-cock. I 
am thine own chum, man — bound to thee by thy kind deeds — 
devinctus beneficio — there is Latin for it ; and where is the 
thing thou wilt charge me with, that I will not, or dare not 



68 



WOODSTOCK 



execute, were it to pick the devil's teeth with my rapier, after 
he had breakfasted upon roundheads ? " 

"You will drive me mad/' said Everard. — "When I am 
about to entrust all I have most valuable on earth to your 
management, your conduct and language are those of a mere 
Bedlamite. Last night I made allowance for thy drunken 
fury ; but who can endure thy morning madness ? — it is unsafe 
for thyself and me, Wildrake — it is unkind — I might say 
ungrateful." 

"Nay, do not say that, my friend/' said the cavalier, with 
some show of feeling ; "and do not judge of me with a severity 
that cannot apply to such as I am. We who have lost our all 
in these sad jars, who are compelled to shift for our living, not 
from day to day, but from meal to meal — we whose only hiding 
place is the jail, whose prospect of final repose is the gallows, — 
what canst thou expect from us, but to bear such a lot with a 
light heart, since we should break down under it with a heavy 
one r 

This was spoken in a tone of feeling which found a respond- 
ing string in Everard's bosom. He took his friend's hand, and 
pressed it kindly. 

"Nay, if I seemed harsh to thee, Wildrake, I profess it was 
for thine own sake more than mine. I know thou hast at the 
bottom of thy levity, as deep a principle of honour and feeling 
as ever governed a human heart. But thou art thoughtless — 
thou art rash — and I protest to thee, that wert thou to betray 
thyself in this matter, in which I trust thee, the evil conse- 
quences to myself would not afflict me more than the thought 
of putting thee into such danger." 

"Nay, if you take it on that tone, Mark," said the cavalier, 
making an effort to laugh, evidently that he might conceal a 
tendency to a different emotion, "thou wilt make children of 
us both — babes and sucklings, by the hilt of this bilbo. — Come, 
trust me ; I can be cautious when time requires it — no man 
ever saw me drink when an alert was expected — and not one 
poor pint of wine will I taste until I have managed this matter 
for thee. Well, I am thy secretary — clerk — I had forgot — and 
carry thy despatches to Cromwell, taking good heed not to be 
surprised or choused out of my lump of loyalty [striking his 
finger on the packet], and I am to deliver it to the most loyal 
hands to which it is most humbly addressed — Adzooks, Mark, 
think of it a moment longer — Surely thou wilt not carry thy 
perverseness so far as to strike in with this bloody-minded 
rebel ? — Bid me give him three inches of my dudgeon-dagger, 
and I will do it much more willingly than present him with 
thy packet." 

"Go to," replied Everard, "this is beyond our bargain. If 



WOODSTOCK 69 

you will help me it is well ; if not, let me lose no time in 
debating with thee, since I think every moment an age till the 
packet is in the General's possession. It is the only way left 
me to obtain some protection, and a place of refuge for my 
uncle and his daughter." 

" That being the case," said the cavalier, " I will not spare 
the spur. My nag up yonder at the town will be ready for the 
road in a trice, and thou mayst reckon on my being with Old 
Noll — thy General, I mean — in as short time as man and horse 
may consume betwixt Woodstock and Windsor, where I think 
I shall for the present find thy friend keeping possession where 
he has slain." 

" Hush, not a word of that. Since we parted last night, I 
have shaped thee a path which will suit thee better than to 
assume the decency of language and of outward manner, of 
which thou hast so little. I have acquainted the General that 
thou hast been by bad example and bad education " 

"Which is to be interpreted by contraries, I hope," said 
Wildrake ; ** for sure I have been as well bom and bred up as 
any lad of Leicestershire might desire." 

"Now, I prithee, hush — thou hast, I say, by bad example 
become at one time a malignant, and mixed in the party of the 
late King. But seeing what things were wrought in the nation 
by the General, thou hast come to a clearness touching his 
calling to be a great implement in the settlement of these dis- 
tracted kingdoms. This account of thee will not only lead him 
to pass over some of thy eccentricities, should they break out 
in spite of thee, but will also give thee an interest with him as 
being more especially attached to his own person." 

"Doubtless," said Wildrake, "as every fisher loves best the 
trouts that are of his own tickling." 

" It is likely, I think, he will send thee hither with letters 
to me," said the Colonel, "enabling me to put a stop to the 
proceedings of these sequestrators, and to give poor old Sir 
Henry Lee permission to linger out his days among the oaks 
he loves to look upon. I have made this my request to 
General Cromwell, and I think my father's friendship and 
my own may stretch so far on his regard without risk of 
cracking, especially standing matters as they now do — thou dost 
understand ? " 

"Entirely well," said the cavalier; "stretch, quotha! — I 
would rather stretch a rope than hold commerce with the old 
King-killing ruffian. But I have said I will be guided by thee, 
Markham, and rat me but I will." 

" Be cautious, then," said Everard, " mark well what he does 
and says — more especially what he does ; for Oliver is one of 
those whose mind is better known by his actions than by his 



WOODSTOCK 



words ; and stay — I warrant thee thou wert setting off without 
a cross in thy purse ? " 

" Too true, Mark," said Wildrake ; M the last noble melted 
last night among yonder blackguard troopers of yours." 

" Well, Roger," replied the Colonel, " that is easily mended." 
So saying, he slipped his purse into his friend's hand. "But 
art thou not an inconsiderate weather-brained fellow, to set 
forth as thou wert about to do, without anything to bear thy 
charges ; what couldst thou have done ? " 

" Faith, I never thought of that ; I must have cried Stand, I 
suppose, to the first pursy townsman or greasy grazier that I 
met o' the heath — it is many a good fellow's shift in these bad 
times." 

" Go to," said Everard ; " be cautious — use none of your loose 
acquaintance — rule your tongue — beware of the wine-pot — for 
there is little danger if thou couldst only but keep thyself sober 
— Be moderate in speech, and forbear oaths or vaunting." 

" In short, metamorphose myself into such a prig as thou 
art, Mark. — Well," said Wildrake, "so far as outside will go, I 
think I can make a Hope-on-High-Bomby * as well as thou canst. 
Ah ! those were merry days when we saw Mills present Bomby 
at the Fortune playhouse, Mark, ere I had lost my laced cloak 
and the jewel in my ear, or thou hadst gotten the wrinkle on 
thy brow, and the puritanic twist of thy moustache ! " 

"They were like most worldly pleasures, Wildrake," replied 
Everard, "sweet in the mouth and bitter in digestion. — But 
away with thee ; and when thou bring' st back my answer, thou 
wilt find me either here or at Saint George's Inn, at the little 
borough. — Good luck to thee — Be but cautious how thou bearest 
thyself." 

The Colonel remained in deep meditation. — " I think," he 
said, " I have not pledged myself too far to the General. A 
breach between him and the Parliament seems inevitable, and 
would throw England back into civil war, of which all men are 
wearied. He may dislike my messenger — yet that I do not 
greatly fear. He knows I would choose such as I can myself 
depend on, and hath dealt enough with the stricter sort to be 
aware that there are among them, as well as elsewhere, men 
who can hide two faces under one hood." 



* A puritanic character in one of Beaumont and Fletcher's plays. 



WOODSTOCK 



71 



CHAPTER VIII 

For there in lofty air was seen to stand 
The stern Protector of the conquer'd land ; 
Drawn in that look with which he wept and swore, 
Turn'd out the members, and made fast the door, 
Ridding the house of every knave and drone, 
Forced — though it grieved his soul — to rule alone. 

— The Frank Courtship.— Crabbe. 

Leaving Colonel Everard to his meditations, we follow the jolly 
cavalier, his companion, who, before mounting at the George, 
did not fail to treat himself to his morning-draught of eggs and 
muscadine, to enable him to face the harvest wind. 

Although he had suffered himself to be sunk in the extrava- 
gant licence which was practised by the cavaliers, as if to oppose 
their conduct in every point to the preciseness of their enemies, 
yet Wildrake, well-born and well-educated, and endowed with 
good natural parts, and a heart which even debauchery, and the 
wild life of a roaring cavalier, had not been able entirely to 
corrupt, moved on his present embassy with a strange mixture 
of feelings, such as perhaps he had never in his life before 
experienced. 

His feelings as a loyalist led him to detest Cromwell, whom 
in other circumstances he would scarce have wished to see, 
except in a field of battle, where he could have had the pleasure 
to exchange pistol-shots with him. But with this hatred there 
was mixed a certain degree of fear. Always victorious wher- 
ever he fought, the remarkable person whom Wildrake was now 
approaching had acquired that influence over the minds of his 
enemies, which constant success is so apt to inspire — they 
dreaded while they hated him — and joined to these feelings, 
was a restless meddling curiosity, which made a particular 
feature in Wildrake's character, who, having long had little 
business of his own, and caring nothing about that which he 
had, was easily attracted by the desire of seeing whatever was 
curious or interesting around him. 

" I should like to see the old rascal after all/' he said, " were 
it but to say that I had seen him." 

He reached Windsor in the afternoon, and felt on his arrival 
the strongest inclination to take up his residence at some of his 
old haunts, when he had occasionally frequented that fair town 
in gayer days. But resisting all temptations of this kind, he 
went courageously to the principal inn, from which its ancient 
emblem, the Garter, had long disappeared. The master, too, 
whom Wildrake, experienced in his knowledge of landlords and 



72 



WOODSTOCK 



hostelries, had remembered a dashing Mine Host of Queen 
Bess's school, had now sobered down to the temper of the 
times, shook his head when he spoke of the Parliament, wielded 
his spigot with the gravity of a priest conducting a sacrifice, 
wished England a happy issue out of all her afflictions, and 
greatly lauded his Excellency the Lord- General. Wildrake 
also remarked, that his wine was better than it was wont to be, 
the Puritans having an excellent gift at detecting every fallacy 
in that matter ; and that his measures were less and his charges 
larger — circumstances which he was induced to attend to, by 
mine host talking a good deal about his conscience. 

He was told by this important personage, that the Lord- 
General received frankly all sorts of persons ; and that he 
might obtain access to him next morning, at eight o'clock, for 
the trouble of presenting himself at the Castle-gate, and an- 
nouncing himself as the bearer of despatches to his Excellency. 

To the Castle the disguised cavalier repaired at the hour 
appointed. Admittance was freely permitted to him by the 
red-coated soldier, who, with austere looks, and his musket on 
his shoulder, mounted guard at the external gate of that noble 
building. Wildrake passed through the underward or court, 
gazing as he passed upon the beautiful Chapel, which had but 
lately received, in darkness and silence, the unhonoured remains 
of the slaughtered King of England. Rough as Wildrake was, 
the recollection of this circumstance affected him so strongly, 
that he had nearly turned back in a sort of horror, rather than 
face the dark and daring man, to whom, amongst all the actors 
in that melancholy affair, its tragic conclusion was chiefly to be 
imputed. But he felt the necessity of subduing all sentiments 
of this nature, and compelled himself to proceed in a negotia- 
tion entrusted to his conduct by one to whom he was so much 
obliged as Colonel Everard. At the ascent, which passed by 
the Round Tower, he looked to the ensign-staff, from which 
the banner of England was wont to float. It was gone, with 
all its rich emblazonry, its gorgeous quarterings, and splendid 
embroidery ; and in its room waved that of the Commonwealth, 
the Cross of Saint George, in its colours of blue and red, not 
yet intersected by the diagonal cross of Scotland, which was 
soon after assumed, as if in evidence of England's conquest 
over her ancient enemy. This change of ensigns increased the 
train of his gloomy reflections, in which, although contrary 
to his wont, he became so deeply wrapped, that the first 
thing which recalled him to himself, was the challenge from 
the sentinel, accompanied with a stroke of the butt of his 
musket on the pavement, with an emphasis which made Wild- 
rake start. 

" Whither away, and who are you ? " 



WOODSTOCK 



73 



" The bearer of a packet/' answered Wildrake, (t to the wor- 
shipful the Lord-General." 

"Stand till I call the officer of the guard." 

The corporal made his appearance, distinguished above those 
of his command by a double quantity of band round his neck, 
a double height of steeple-crowned hat, a larger allowance of 
cloak, and a treble proportion of sour gravity of aspect. It 
might be read on his countenance, that he was one of those 
resolute enthusiasts to whom Oliver owed his conquests, whose 
religious zeal made them even more than a match for the high- 
spirited and high-born cavaliers, that exhausted their valour in 
vain defence of their sovereign's person and crown. He looked 
with grave solemnity at Wildrake, as if he was making in his 
own mind an inventory of his features and dress ; and having 
fully perused them, he required "to know his business." 

" My business," said Wildrake, as firmly as he could — for the 
close investigation of this man had given him some unpleasant 
nervous sensations — "my business is with your General." 

" With his Excellency the Lord-General, thou wouldst say ? " 
replied the corporal. " Thy speech, my friend, savours too little 
of the reverence due to his Excellency." 

"D — n his Excellency ! " was at the lips of the cavalier ; but 
prudence kept guard, and permitted not the offensive words to 
escape the barrier. He only bowed, and was silent. 

" Follow me," said the starched figure whom he addressed ; 
and Wildrake followed him accordingly into the guard-house, 
which exhibited an interior characteristic of the times, and very 
different from what such military stations present at the pre- 
sent day. 

By the fire sat two or three musketeers, listening to one who 
was expounding some religious mystery to them. He began 
half beneath his breath, but in tones of great volubility, which 
tones, as he approached the conclusion, became sharp and 
eager, as challenging either instant answer or silent acquiescence. 
The audience seemed to listen to the speaker with immovable 
features, only answering him with clouds of tobacco-smoke, 
which they rolled from under their thick moustaches. On a 
bench lay a soldier on his face ; whether asleep, or in a fit of 
contemplation, it was impossible to decide. In the midst of the 
floor stood an officer, as he seemed by his embroidered shoulder- 
belt and scarf round his waist, otherwise very plainly attired, 
who was engaged in drilling a stout bumpkin, lately enlisted, 
to the manual, as it was then used. The motions and words of 
command were twenty at the very least ; and until they were 
regularly brought to an end, the corporal did not permit Wild- 
rake either to sit down or move forward beyond the threshold of 
the guard-house. So he had to listen in succession to — Poise 



74 WOODSTOCK 

your musket — Rest your musket — Cock your musket — Handle 
your primers — and many other forgotten words of discipline, 
until at length the words, "Order your musket/' ended the 
drill for the time. 

" Thy name, friend ? " said the officer to the recruit, when the 
lesson was over. 

"Ephraim," answered the fellow, with an affected twang 
through the nose. 

"And what besides Ephraim?" 

"Ephraim Cobb, from the godly city of Gloucester, where I 
have dwelt for seven years, serving apprentice to a praiseworthy 
cordwainer." 

"It is a goodly craft," answered the officer; "but casting in 
thy lot with ours, doubt not that thou shalt be set beyond thine 
awl, and thy last to boot." 

A grim smile of the speaker accompanied this poor attempt 
at a pun ; and then turning round to the corporal, who stood 
two paces off, with the face of one who seemed desirous of 
speaking, said, " How now, corporal, what tidings ? " 

" Here is one with a packet, an please your Excellency," said 
the corporal — " Surely my spirit doth not rejoice in him, seeing 
I esteem him as a wolf in sheep's clothing." 

By these words Wildrake learned that he was in the actual 
presence of the remarkable person to whom he was commis- 
sioned ; and he paused to consider in what manner he ought to 
address him. 

The figure of Oliver Cromwell was, as is generally known, in 
no way prepossessing. He was of middle stature, strong and | 
coarsely made, with harsh and severe features, indicative, how- 
ever, of much natural sagacity and depth of thought. His \ 
eyes were grey and piercing; his nose too large in proportion 
to his other features, and of a reddish hue. 

His manner of speaking, when he had the purpose to make 
himself distinctly understood, was energetic and forcible, though 
neither graceful nor eloquent. No man could on such occasion 
put his meaning into fewer and more decisive words. But when, 
as it often happened, he had a mind to play the orator, for the 
benefit of people's ears, without enlightening their understand- 
ing, Cromwell was wont to invest his meaning, or that which i 
seemed to be his meaning, in such a mist of words, surrounding 
it with so many exclusions and exceptions, and fortifying it I 
with such a labyrinth of parentheses, that though one of the 
most shrewd men in England, he was, perhaps, the most unin- 
telligible speaker that ever perplexed an audience. It has been 
long since said by the historian, that a collection of the Pro- 
tector's speeches would make, with a few exceptions, the most 
nonsensical book in the world ; but he ought to have added, 



WOODSTOCK 75 

that nothing could be more nervous, concise, and intelligible, 
than what he really intended should be understood. 

It was also remarked of Cromwell, that though born of a good 
family, both by father and mother, and although he had the 
usual opportunities of education and breeding connected with 
such an advantage, the fanatic democratic ruler could never 
acquire, or else disdained to practise, the courtesies usually 
exercised among the higher classes in their intercourse with 
each other. His demeanour was so blunt as sometimes might 
be termed clownish, yet there was in his language and manner 
a force and energy corresponding to his character, which im- 
pressed awe, if it did not impose respect ; and there were even 
times when that dark and subtle spirit expanded itself, so as 
almost to conciliate affection. The turn for humour, which 
displayed itself by fits, was broad, and of a low, and sometimes 
practical character. Something there was in his disposition 
congenial to that of his countrymen; a contempt of folly, a 
hatred of affectation, and a dislike of ceremony, which, joined 
to the strong intrinsic qualities of sense and courage, made him 
in many respects not an unfit representative of the democracy 
of England. 

His religion must always be a subject of much doubt, and 
probably of doubt which he himself could hardly have cleared 
up. Unquestionably there was a time in his life when he was 
sincerely enthusiastic, and when his natural temper, slightly 
subject to hypochondria, was strongly agitated by the same 
fanaticism which influenced so many persons of the time. On 
the other hand, there were periods during his political career, 
when we certainly do him no injustice in charging him with a 
hypocritical affectation. We shall probably judge him, and 
others of the same age, most truly, if we suppose that their 
religious professions were partly influential in their own breast, 
partly assumed in compliance with their own interest. And 
so ingenious is the human heart in deceiving itself as well as 
others, that it is probable neither Cromwell himself, nor those 
making similar pretensions to distinguished piety, could exactly 
have fixed the point at which their enthusiasm terminated and 
their hypocrisy commenced ; or rather, it was a point not fixed 
in itself, but fluctuating with the state of health, of good or 
bad fortune, of high or low spirits, affecting the individual at 
the period. 

Such was the celebrated person, who, turning round on 
Wildrake, and scanning his countenance closely, seemed so 
little satisfied with what he beheld, that he instinctively hitched 
forward his belt, so as to bring the handle of his tuck-sword 
within his reach. But yet, folding his arms in his cloak, as if 
upon second thoughts laying aside suspicion, or thinking pre- 



7 6 



WOODSTOCK 



caution beneath him, he asked the cavalier what he was, and 
whence he came ? 

"A poor gentleman, sir, — that is, my lord," — answered 
Wildrake ; " last from Woodstock." 

"And what may your tidings be, sir gentleman?" said Crom- 
well, with an emphasis. " Truly I have seen those most will- 
ing to take upon them that title, bear themselves somewhat 
short of wise men, and good men, and true men, with all their 
gentility ; yet gentleman was a good title in old England, 
when men remembered what it was construed to mean." 

"You say truly, sir/' replied Wildrake, suppressing, with 
difficulty, some of his usual wild expletives ; " formerly gentle- 
men were found in gentlemen's places, but now the world is so 
changed that you shall find the broidered belt has changed place 
with the under spur-leather." 

" Say'st thou me ? " said the General ; " I profess thou art 
a bold companion, that can bandy words so wantonly ; — thou 
ring'st somewhat too loud to be good metal, methinks. And, 
once again, what are thy tidings with me ? " 

"This packet," said Wildrake, "commended to your hands 
by Colonel Markham Everard." 

"Alas, I must have mistaken thee," answered Cromwell, 
mollified at the mention of a man's name whom he had great 
desire to make his own ; " forgive us, good friend, for such, we 
doubt not, thou art. Sit thee down, and commune with thy- 
self, as thou may'st, until we have examined the contents of 
thy packet. Let him be looked to, and have what he lacks." 
So saying, the General left the guard-house, where Wildrake 
took his seat in the corner, and awaited with patience the issue 
of his mission. 

The soldiers now thought themselves obliged to treat him 
with more consideration, and offered him a pipe of Trinidado, 
and a black jack filled with October. But the look of Crom- 
well, and the dangerous situation in which he might be placed 
by the least chance of detection, induced Wildrake to decline 
these hospitable offers, and stretching back in his chair, and 
affecting slumber, he escaped notice or conversation, until a 
sort of aide-de-camp, or military officer in attendanoe, came to 
summon him to Cromwell's presence. 

By this person he was guided to a postern-gate, through 
which he entered the body of the Castle, and penetrating 
through many private passages and staircases, he at length 
was introduced into a small cabinet, or parlour, in which was 
much rich furniture, some bearing the royal cipher displayed, 
but all confused and disarranged, together with several paintings 
in massive frames, having their faces turned towards the wall, as 
if they had been taken down for the purpose of being removed. 



WOODSTOCK 



77 



In this scene of disorder, the victorious General of the 
Commonwealth was seated in a large easy-chair, covered with 
damask, and deeply embroidered, the splendour of which made 
a strong contrast with the plain, and even homely character of his 
apparel ; although in look and action he seemed like one who 
felt that the seat which might have in former days held a prince, 
was not too much distinguished for his own fortunes and ambition. 
Wildrake stood before him, nor did he ask him to sit down. 

" Pearson," said Cromwell, addressing himself to the officer in 
attendance, u wait in the gallery, but be within call." Pearson 
bowed, and was retiring. "Who are in the gallery besides ?" 

" Worthy Mr. Gordon, the chaplain, was holding forth but 
now to Colonel Overton, and four captains of your Excellency's 
regiment." 

" We would have it so," said the General ; " we would not 
there were any corner in our dwelling where the hungry soul 
might not meet with manna. Was the good man carried onward 
in his discourse ? " 

" Mightily borne through," said Pearson ; "and he was touch- 
ing the rightful claims which the army, and especially your 
Excellency, hath acquired by becoming the instruments in the 
great work ;—-not instruments to be broken asunder and cast 
away when the day of their service is over, but to be preserved, 
and held precious, and prized for their honourable and faithful 
labours, for which they have fought and marched, and fasted, 
and prayed, and suffered cold and sorrow ; while others, who 
would now gladly see them disbanded, and broken, and cashiered, 
eat of the fat, and drink of the strong." 

"Ah, good man!" said Cromwell, "and did he touch upon 
this so feelingly ! I could say something — but not now. Be- 
gone, Pearson, to the gallery. Let not our friends lay aside 
their swords, but watch as -well as pray." 

Pearson retired ; and the General, holding the letter of 
Everard in his hand, looked again for a long while fixedly at 
Wildrake, as if considering in what strain he should address 
him. 

When he did speak, it was, at first, in one of those ambiguous 
discourses which we have already described, and by which it 
was very difficult for any one to understand his meaning, if, 
indeed, he knew it himself. We shall be as concise in our 
statement, as our desire to give the very words of a man so 
extraordinary will permit. 

" This letter," he said, " you have brought us from your master, 
or patron, Markham Everard ; truly an excellent and honour- 
able gentleman as ever bore a sword upon his thigh, and one 
who hath ever distinguished himself in the great work of 
delivering these three poor and unhappy nations. Answer me 



78 



WOODSTOCK 



not : I know what thou wouldst say. — And this letter he hath 
sent to me by thee, his clerk, or secretary, in whom he hath 
confidence, and in whom he prays me to have trust, that there 
may be a careful messenger between us. And lastly, he hath 
sent thee to me — Do not answer — I know what thou wouldst 
say, — to me, who, albeit, I am of that small consideration, that 
it would be too much honour for me even to bear a halberd in 
this great and victorious army of England, am nevertheless 
exalted to the rank of holding the guidance and the leading- 
staff thereof. — Nay, do not answer, my friend — I know what thou 
wouldst say. Now, when communing thus together, our discourse 
taketh, in respect to what I have said, a threefold argument or 
division : First, as it concerneth thy master ; secondly, as it con- 
cerneth us and our office ; thirdly and lastly, as it toucheth 
thyself. — Now, as concerning this good and worthy gentleman, 
Colonel Markham Everard, truly he hath played the man from 
the beginning of these unhappy buffetings, not turning to the 
right or to the left, but holding ever in his eye the mark at which 
he aimed. Ay, truly, a faithful, honourable gentleman, and one 
who may well call me friend ; and truly I am pleased to think 
that he doth so. Nevertheless, in this vale of tears, we must 
be governed less by our private respects and partialities, than 
by those higher principles and points of duty, whereupon the 
good Colonel Markham Everard hath ever framed his purposes, 
as, truly, I have endeavoured to form mine, that we may all act 
as becometh good Englishmen and worthy patriots. Then, as 
for Woodstock, it is a great thing which the good Colonel asks, 
that it should be taken from the spoil of the godly and left in 
keeping of the men of Moab, and especially of the malignant, 
Henry Lee, whose hand hath been ever against us when he 
might find room to raise it ; I say, he hath asked a great thing, 
both in respect of himself and me. For we of this poor but 
godly army of England, are holden, by those of the Parliament, 
as men who should render in spoil for them, but be no sharer of 
it ourselves ; even as the buck, which the hounds pull to earth, 
furnisheth no part of their own food, but they are lashed off 
from the carcass with whips, like those which require punish- 
ment for their forwardness, not reward for their services. Yet 
I speak not this so much in respect of this grant of Woodstock, 
in regard that, perhaps, their Lordships of the Council, and also 
the Committeemen of this Parliament, may graciously think 
they have given me a portion in the matter, in relation that my 
kinsman Desborough hath an interest allowed him therein ; 
which interest, as he hath well deserved it for his true and 
faithful service to these unhappy and devoted countries, so it 
would ill become me to diminish the same to his prejudice, 
unless it were upon great and public respects. Thus thou seest 



WOODSTOCK 79 

how it stands with me, my honest friend, and in what mind I 
stand touching thy master's request to me ; which yet I do not 
say that I can altogether, or unconditionally, grant or refuse, 
but only tell my simple thoughts with regard thereto. Thou 
understandest me, I doubt not?" 

Now, Roger Wildrake, with all the attention he had been 
able to pay to the Lord-General's speech, had got so much 
confused among the various clauses of the harangue, that his 
brain was bewildered, like that of a country clown when he 
chances to get himself involved among a crowd of carriages, 
and cannot stir a step to get out of the way of one of them, 
without being in danger of being ridden over by the others. 

The General saw his look of perplexity, and began a new 
oration, to the same purpose as before ; spoke of his love for 
his kind friend the Colonel — his regard for his pious and godly 
kinsman, Master Desborough — the great importance of the 
Palace and Park of Woodstock — the determination of the Par- 
liament that it should be confiscated, and the produce brought 
into the coffers of the state — his own deep veneration for the 
authority of Parliament, and his no less deep sense of the 
injustice done to the army — how it was his wish and will that 
all matters should be settled in an amicable and friendly 
manner, without self-seeking, debate, or strife, betwixt those 
who had been the hands acting, and such as had been the heads 
governing, in that great national cause — how he was willing, 
truly willing, to contribute to this work, by laying down, not 
his commission only, but his life also, if it were requested of 
him, or could be granted with safety to the poor soldiers, to 
whom, silly poor men, he was bound to be as a father, seeing 
that they had followed him with the duty and affection of 
children. 

And here he arrived at another dead pause, leaving Wildrake 
as uncertain as before, whether it was or was not his purpose 
to grant Colonel Everard the powers he had asked for the pro- 
tection of Woodstock against the Parliamentary Commissioners. 
Internally he began to entertain hopes that the justice of 
Heaven, or the effects of remorse, had confounded the regicide's 
understanding. But no — he could see nothing but sagacity in 
that steady stern eye, which, while the tongue poured forth 
its periphrastic language in such profusion, seemed to watch 
with severe accuracy the effect which his oratory produced on 
the listener. 

"Egad," thought the cavalier to himself, becoming a little 
familiar with the situation in which he was placed, and rather 
impatient of a conversation which led to no visible conclusion 
or termination, "If Noll were the devil himself, as he is the 
devil's darling, I will not be thus nose-led by him. I'll e'en 



8o 



WOODSTOCK 



brusque it a little, if he goes on at this rate, and try if I can 
bring him to a more intelligible mode of speaking." 

Entertaining this bold purpose, but half afraid to execute it, 
Wildrake lay by for an opportunity of making the attempt, 
while Cromwell was apparently unable to express his own 
meaning. He was already beginning a third panegyric upon 
Colonel Everard, with sundry varied expressions of his own wish 
to oblige him, when Wildrake took the opportunity to strike in, 
on the General's making one of his oratorical pauses. 

" So please you," he said bluntly, " your worship has already 
spoken on two topics of your discourse, your own worthiness, 
and that of my master, Colonel Everard. But, to enable me 
to do mine errand, it would be necessary to bestow a few words 
on the third head/' 

" The third ? " said Cromwell. 

" Ay," said Wildrake, " which, in your honour's subdivision 
of your discourse, touched on my unworthy self. What am I to 
do — what portion am I to have in this matter ? " 

Oliver started at once from the tone of voice he had hitherto 
used, and which somewhat resembled the purring of a domestic 
cat, into the growl of the tiger when about to spring. u Thy 
portion, jail-bird ! " he exclaimed, " the gallows — thou shalt 
hang as high as Haman, if thou betray counsel ! — But," he 
added, softening his voice, "keep it like a true man, and my 
favour will be the making of thee. Come hither — thou art 
bold, I see, though somewhat saucy. Thou hast been a malig- 
nant — so writes my worthy friend Colonel Everard ; but thou 
hast now given up that falling cause. I tell thee, friend, not 
all that the Parliament or the army could do would have pulled 
down the Stewarts out of their high places, saving that Heaven 
had a controversy with them. Well, it is a sweet and comely 
thing to buckle on one's armour in behalf of Heaven's cause ; 
otherwise truly, for mine own part, these men might have 
remained upon the throne even unto this day. Neither do I 
blame any for aiding them, until these successive great judg- 
ments have overwhelmed them and their house. I am not a 
bloody man, having in me the feeling of human frailty ; but, 
friend, whosoever putteth his hand to the plough, in the great 
actings which are now on foot in these nations, had best beware 
that he do not look back ; for, rely upon my simple word, that 
if you fail me, I will not spare on you one foot's length of the 
gallows of Haman. Let me therefore know, at a word, if the 
leaven of thy malignancy is altogether drubbed out of thee ? " 

" Your honourable lordship," said the cavalier, shrugging up 
his shoulders, " has done that for most of us, so far as cudgelling 
to some tune can perform it." 

" Say'st thou ? " said the General, with a grim smile on his 



CROMWELL AND LADY FAUCON BERG BEFORE THE PORTRAIT 
OF THE DEAD KING 
From the Painting by A Chisholm 



WOODSTOCK 



81 



lip, which seemed to intimate that he was not quite inaccessible 
to flattery ; " yea, truly, thou dost not lie in that — we have 
been an instrument. Neither are we, as I have already hinted, 
so severely bent against those who have striven against us as 
malignants, as others may be. The parliament-men best know 
their own interest and their own pleasure ; but, to my poor 
thinking, it is full time to close these jars, and to allow men of 
all kinds the means of doing service to their country ; and we 
think it will be thy fault if thou art not employed to good pur- 
pose for the State and thyself, on condition thou puttest away 
the old man entirely from thee, and givest thy earnest attention 
to what I have to tell thee." 

"Your lordship need not doubt my attention," said the 
cavalier. 

And the republican General, after another pause, as one who 
gave his confidence not without hesitation, proceeded to explain 
his views with a distinctness which he seldom used, yet not 
without his being a little biassed now and then, by his long 
habits of circumlocution, which indeed he never laid entirely 
aside, save in the field of battle. 

"Thou seest," he said, "my friend, how things stand with 
me. The Parliament, I care not who knows it, love me not — 
still less do the Council of State, by whom they manage the 
executive government of the kingdom. I cannot tell why they 
nourish suspicion against me, unless it is because I will not 
deliver this poor innocent army, which has followed me in so 
many military actions, to be now pulled asunder, broken piece- 
meal and reduced, so that they who have protected the State at 
the expense of their blood, will not have, perchance, the means 
of feeding themselves by their labour; which, methinks, were 
hard measure, since it is taking from Esau his birthright, even 
without giving him a poor mess of pottage." 

" Esau is likely to help himself, I think," replied Wildrake. 

"Truly, thou say'st wisely," replied the General; "it is ill 
starving an armed man, if there is food to be had for taking — 
nevertheless, far be it from me to encourage rebellion, or want 
of due subordination to these our rulers. I would only petition, 
in a due and becoming, a sweet and harmonious manner, that 
they would listen to our conditions, and consider our necessities. 
But, sir, looking on me, and estimating me so little as they do, 
you must think that it would be a provocation in me towards 
the Council of State, as well as the Parliament, if, simply to 
gratify your worthy master, I were to act contrary to their 
purposes, or deny currency to the commission under their 
authority, which is as yet the highest in the State — and long 
may it be so for me ! — to carry on the sequestration which they 
intend. And would it not also be said, that I was lending 

F 



82 WOODSTOCK 



myself to the malignant interest, affording this den of the blood- 
thirsty and lascivious tyrants of yore, to be in this our day a 
place of refuge to that old and inveterate Amalekite, Sir Henry 
Lee, to keep possession of the place in which he hath so long 
glorified himself? Truly it would be a perilous matter." 

"Am I then to report/' said Wildrake, "an it please you, that 
you cannot stead Colonel Everard in this matter ? " 

" Unconditionally, ay — but, taken conditionally, the answer 
may be otherwise," answered Cromwell. " I see thou art not 
able to fathom my purpose, and therefore I will partly unfold 
it to thee. — But take notice, that, should thy tongue betray 
my counsel, save in so far as carrying it to thy master, by all 
the blood which has been shed in these wild times, thou shalt 
die a thousand deaths in one." 

" Do not fear me, sir," said Wildrake, whose natural boldness 
and carelessness of character was for the present time borne down 
and quelled, like that of falcons in the presence of the eagle. 

" Hear me, then," said Cromwell, " and let no syllable escape 
thee. Knowest thou not the young Lee, whom they call Albert, 
a malignant like his father, and one who went up with the 
young Man to that last ruffle which we had with him at Wor- 
cester — May we be grateful for the victory ! " 

" I know there is such a young gentleman as Albert Lee," 
said Wildrake. 

" And knowest thou not — I speak not by way of prying into 
the good Colonel's secrets, but only as it behoves me to know 
something of the matter, that I may best judge how I am to 
serve him — Knowest thou not that thy master, Markham 
Everard, is a suitor after the sister of this same malignant, a 
daughter of the old Keeper, called Sir Henry Lee ? " 

"All this I have heard," said Wildrake, "nor can I deny 
that I believe in it." 

"Well, then, go to. — When the young man Charles Stewart 
fled from the field of Worcester, and was by sharp chase and 
pursuit compelled to separate himself from his followers, I 
know by sure intelligence that this Albert Lee was one of the 
last who remained with him, if not indeed the very last." 

" It was devilish like him," said the cavalier, without suffi- 
ciently weighing his expressions, considering in what presence 
they were to be uttered — " And I'll uphold him with my rapier, 
to be a true chip of the old block ! " 

" Ha, swearest thou ? " said the General. " Is this thy 
reformation ? " 

" I never swear, so please you," replied Wildrake, recollect- 
ing himself, " except there is some mention of malignants and 
cavaliers in my hearing ; and then the old habit returns, and I 
swear like one of Goring's troopers." 



WOODSTOCK 83 

"Out upon thee," said the General ; "what can it avail thee 
to practise a profanity so horrible to the ears of others, and 
which brings no emolument to him who uses it ? " 

* There are, doubtless, more profitable sins in the world than 
the barren and unprofitable vice of swearing," was the answer 
which rose to the lips of the cavalier ; but that was exchanged 
for a profession of regret for having given offence. The truth 
was, the discourse began to take a turn which rendered it more 
interesting than ever to Wildrake, who therefore determined 
not to lose the opportunity for obtaining possession of the 
secret that seemed to be suspended on Cromwell's lips ; and 
that could only be through means of keeping guard upon his 
own 

" What sort of a house is Woodstock ? " said the General 
abruptly. 

"An old mansion," said Wildrake in reply; "and, so far as 
I could judge by a single night's lodgings, having abundance 
of backstairs, also subterranean passages, and all the communi- 
cations under ground, which are common in old raven-nests of 
the sort." 

"And places for concealing priests, unquestionably," said 
Cromwell. " It is seldom that such ancient houses lack secret 
stalls wherein to mew up these calves of Bethel." 

" Your Honour's Excellency," said Wildrake, " may swear to 
that." 

" I swear not at all," replied the General drily. — " But 
what think' st thou, good fellow ? — I will ask thee a blunt 
question — Where will those two Worcester fugitives that thou 
wottest of be more likely to take shelter — and that they must 
be sheltered somewhere I well know — than in this same old 
palace, with all the corners and concealment whereof young 
Albert hath been acquainted ever since his earliest infancy ?" 

"Truly," said Wildrake, making an effort to answer the 
question with seeming indifference, while the possibility of such 
an event, and its consequences, flashed fearfully upon his mind, 
— "Truly I should be of your Honour's opinion, but that I 
think the company, who, by the commission of Parliament, 
have occupied Woodstock, are likely to fright them thence, as 
a cat scares doves from a pigeon-house. The neighbourhood, 
with reverence, of Generals Desborough and Harrison, will suit 
ill with fugitives from Worcester field." 

"I thought as much, and so, indeed, would I have it/' 
answered the General. "Long may it be ere our names shall 
be aught but a terror to our enemies. But in this matter, if 
thou art an active plotter for thy master's interest, thou 
might'st, I should think, work out something favourable to 
his present object." 



84 WOODSTOCK 

" My brain is too poor to reach the depth of your honourable 
purpose/' said Wildrake. 

" Listen, then, and let it be to profit/' answered Cromwell. 
" Assuredly the conquest at Worcester was a great and crown- 
ing mercy ; yet might we seem to be but small in our thankful- 
ness for the same, did we not do what in us lies towards the 
ultimate improvement and final conclusion of the great work 
which has been thus prosperous in our hands, professing in pure 
humility and singleness of heart, that we do not, in any way, 
deserve our instrumentality to be remembered, nay, would 
rather pray and entreat, that our name and fortunes were for- 
gotten, than that the great work were in itself incomplete. 
Nevertheless, truly placed as we now are, it concerns us more 
nearly than others, — that is, if so poor creatures should at all 
speak of themselves as concerned, whether more or less, with 
these changes which have been wrought around, — not, I say, 
by ourselves, or our own power, but by the destiny to which 
we were called, fulfilling the same with all meekness and 
humility, — I say it concerns us nearly that all things should be 
done in conformity with the great work which hath been 
wrought, and is yet working in these lands. Such is my plain 
and simple meaning. Nevertheless, it is much to be desired 
that this young man, this King of Scots, as he called himself 
— this Charles Stewart — should not escape forth from the 
nation, where his arrival has wrought so much disturbance 
and bloodshed." 

" I have no doubt," said the cavalier, looking down, " that 
your lordship's wisdom hath directed all things as they may 
best lead towards such a consummation ; and I pray your pains 
may be paid as they deserve." 

" I thank thee, friend," said Cromwell, with much humility ; 
" doubtless we shall meet our reward, being in the hands of a 
good paymaster, who never passeth Saturday night. But under- 
stand me, friend — I desire no more than my own share in the 
good work. I would heartily do what poor kindness I can to 
your worthy master, and even to you in your degree — for such 
as I do not converse with ordinary men, that our presence may 
be forgotten like an everyday's occurrence. We speak to men 
like thee for their reward or their punishment ; and I trust it 
will be the former which thou in thine office wilt merit at my 
hand." 

" Your honour," said Wildrake, " speaks like one accustomed I 
to command." 

" True ; men's minds are likened to those of my degree by i 
fear and reverence," said the General ; " but enough of that, j 
desiring, as I do, no other dependency on my special person 
than is alike to us all upon that which is above us. But I 



WOODSTOCK 85 

would desire to cast this golden ball into your master's lap. 
He hath served against this Charles Stewart and his father. 
But he is a kinsman near to the old knight Lee, and stands 
well affected towards his daughter. Thou also wilt keep a 
watch, my friend — that ruffling look of thine will procure thee 
the confidence of every malignant, and the prey cannot ap- 
proach this cover, as though to shelter, like a coney in the 
rocks, but thou wilt be sensible of his presence." 

" I make a shift to comprehend your Excellency," said the 
cavalier; "and I thank you heartily for the good opinion you 
have put upon me, and which I pray I may have some hand- 
some opportunity of deserving, that I may show my gratitude 
by the event. But still, with reverence, your Excellency's 
scheme seems unlikely, while Woodstock remains in possession 
of the sequestrators. Both the old knight and his son, and far 
more such a fugitive as your honour hinted at, will take special 
care not to approach it till they are removed." 

"It is for that I have been dealing with thee thus long," 
said the General. " I told thee that I was something unwilling, 
upon slight occasion, to dispossess the sequestrators by my own 
proper warrant, although having, perhaps, sufficient authority in 
the State both to do so, and to despise the murmurs of those 
who blame me. In brief, I would be loth to tamper with 
my privileges, and make experiments between their strength, 
and the powers of the commission granted by others, without 
pressing need, or at least great prospect of advantage. So, if 
thy Colonel will undertake, for his love of the Republic, to find 
the means of preventing its worst and nearest danger, which 
must needs occur from the escape of this young Man, and will 
do his endeavour to stay him, in case his flight should lead him 
to Woodstock, which I hold very likely, I will give thee an 
order to these sequestrators to evacuate the palace instantly ; 
and to the next troop of my regiment, which lies at Oxford, to 
turn them out by the shoulders, if they make any scruples — Ay, 
even, for example's sake, if they drag Desborough out foremost, 
though he be wedded to my sister." 

"So please you, sir," said Wildrake, "and with your most 
powerful warrant, I trust I might expel the commissioners, even 
without the aid of your most warlike and devout troopers." 

" That is what I am least anxious about," replied the General ; 
"I should like to see the best of them sit after I had nodded 
to them to begone — always excepting the worshipful House, in 
whose name our commissions run ; but who, as some think, will 
be done with politics ere it be time to renew them. Therefore, 
what chiefly concerns me to know is, whether thy master will 
embrace a traffic which hath such a fair promise of profit with 
it. I am well convinced that, with a scout like thee, who hast 



86 WOODSTOCK 

been in the cavaliers' quarters, and canst, I should guess, resume 
thy drinking, ruffianly, health-quaffing manners whenever thou 
hast a mind, he must discover where this Stewart hath ensconced 
himself. Either the young Lee will visit the old one in person, 
or he will write to him, or hold communication with him by 
letter. At all events, Markham Everard and thou must have 
an eye in every hair of your head." While he spoke, a flush 
passed over his brow, he rose from his chair, and paced the 
apartment in agitation. " Woe to you, if you suffer the young 
adventurer to escape me ! — you had better be in the deepest 
dungeon in Europe, than breathe the air of England, should you 
but dream of playing me false. I have spoken freely to thee, 
fellow — more freely than is my wont — the time required it. 
But, to share my confidence is like keeping a watch over a 
powder-magazine, the least and most insignificant spark blows 
thee to ashes. Tell your master what I said — but not how I 
said it — Fie, that I should have been betrayed into this dis- 
temperature of passion ! — begone, sirrah. Pearson shall bring 
thee sealed orders — Yet, stay — thou hast something to ask." 

" I would know," said Wildrake, to whom the visible anxiety 
of the General gave some confidence, " what is the figure of this 
young gallant, in case I should find him ? " 

" A tall, rawboned, swarthy lad, they say he has shot up into. 
Here is his picture by a good hand, some time since." He 
turned round one of the portraits which stood with its face 
against the wall ; but it proved not to be that of Charles the 
Second, but of his unhappy father. 

The first motion of Cromwell indicated a purpose of hastily 
replacing the picture, and it seemed as if an effort was neces- 
sary to repress his disinclination to look upon it. But he did 
repress it, and placing the picture against the wall, withdrew 
slowly and sternly, as if, in defiance of his own feelings, he was 
determined to gain a place from which to see it to advantage. 
It was well for Wildrake that his dangerous companion had not 
turned an eye on him, for his blood also kindled when he saw 
the portrait of his master in the hands of the chief author of his 
death. Being a fierce and desperate man, he commanded his 
passion with great difficulty ; and if, on its first violence, he had 
been provided with a suitable weapon, it is possible Cromwell 
would never have ascended higher in his bold ascent towards 
supreme power. 

But this natural and sudden flash of indignation, which rushed 
through the veins of an ordinary man like Wildrake, was pre- 
sently subdued, when confronted with the strong yet stifled 
emotion displayed by so powerful a character as Cromwell. As 
the cavalier looked on his dark and bold countenance, agitated 
by inward and indescribable feelings, he found his own violence 



WOODSTOCK 87 

of spirit die away and lose itself in fear and wonder. So true it is, 
that as greater lights swallow up and extinguish the display of 
those which are less, so men of great, capacious, and overruling 
minds, bear aside and subdue, in their climax of passion, the 
more feeble wills and passions of others ; as when a river joins 
a brook, the fiercer torrent shoulders aside the smaller stream. 

Wildrake stood a silent, inactive, and almost a terrified 
spectator, while Cromwell, assuming a firm sternness of eye 
and manner, as one who compels himself to look on what some 
strong internal feeling renders painful and disgustful to him, 
proceeded, in brief and interrupted expressions, but yet with a 
firm voice, to comment on the portrait of the late King. His 
words seemed less addressed to Wildrake, than to be the spon- 
taneous unburdening of his own bosom, swelling under recol- 
lection of the past and anticipation of the future. 

" That Flemish painter," he said — " that Antonio Vandyck — 
what a power he has ! Steel may mutilate, warriors may waste 
and destroy — still the King stands uninjured by time ; and our 
grandchildren, while they read his history, may look on his 
image, and compare the melancholy features with the woeful 
tale. — It was a stern necessity — it was an awful deed ! The 
calm pride of that eye might have ruled worlds of crouching 
Frenchmen, or supple Italians, or formal Spaniards ; but its 
glances only roused the native courage of the stern English- 
man. — Lay not on poor sinful man, whose breath is in his 
nostrils, the blame that he falls, when Heaven never gave him 
strength of nerves to stand ! The weak rider is thrown by his 
unruly horse, and trampled to death — the strongest man, the 
best cavalier, springs to the empty saddle, and uses bit and 
spur till the fiery steed knows its master. Who blames him 
who, mounted aloft, rides triumphantly amongst the people, for 
having succeeded, where the unskilful and feeble fell and died ? 
Verily he hath his reward : Then, what is that piece of painted 
canvas to me more than others ? No ; let him show to others 
the reproaches of that cold, calm face, that proud yet complain- 
ing eye : Those who have acted on higher respects have no 
cause to start at painted shadows. Not wealth nor power 
brought me from my obscurity. The oppressed consciences, 
the injured liberties of England, were the banner that I 
followed." 

He raised his voice so high, as if pleading in his own defence 
before some tribunal, that Pearson, the officer in attendance, 
looked into the apartment ; and observing his master, with his 
eyes kindling, his arm extended, his foot advanced, and his 
voice raised, like a general in the act of commanding the 
advance of his army, he instantly withdrew. 

"It was other than selfish regards that drew me forth to 



88 



WOODSTOCK 



action/' continued Cromwell, "and I dare the world — ay, living 
or dead I challenge — to assert that I armed for a private 
cause, or as a means of enlarging my fortunes. Neither was 
there a trooper in the regiment who came there with less of 
personal evil will to yonder unhappy " 

At this moment the door of the apartment opened, and a 
gentlewoman entered, who, from her resemblance to the General, 
although her features were soft and feminine, might be imme- 
diately recognised as his daughter. She walked up to Cromwell, 
gently but firmly passed her arm through his, and said to him 
in a persuasive tone, " Father, this is not well — you have pro- 
mised me this should not happen." 

The General hung down his head, like one who was either 
ashamed of the passion to which he had given way, or of the 
influence which was exercised over him. He yielded, however, 
to the affectionate impulse, and left the apartment, without 
again turning his head towards the portrait which had so much 
affected him, or looking towards Wildrake, who remained fixed 
in astonishment. 



CHAPTER IX 

Doctor. — Go to, go to, — You have known what you should not. 

— Macbeth. 

Wildrake was left in the cabinet, as we have said, astonished 
and alone. It was often noised about, that Cromwell, the deep 
and sagacious statesman, the calm and intrepid commander, 
he who had overcome such difficulties, and ascended to such 
heights, that he seemed already to bestride the land which he 
had conquered, had, like many other men of great genius, a 
constitutional taint of melancholy, which sometimes displayed 
itself both in words and actions, and had been first observed in 
that sudden and striking change, when, abandoning entirely the 
dissolute freaks of his youth, he embraced a very strict course 
of religious observances, which, upon some occasions, he seemed 
to consider as bringing him into more near and close contact 
with the spiritual world. This extraordinary man is said 
sometimes, during that period of his life, to have given way to 
spiritual delusions, or, as he himself conceived them, prophetic 
inspirations of approaching grandeur, and of strange, deep, and 
mysterious agencies, in which he was in future to be engaged, 
in the same manner as his younger years had been marked by 
fits of exuberant and excessive frolic and debaucheries. Some- 
thing of this kind seemed to explain the ebullition of passion 
which he had now manifested. 



WOODSTOCK 89 

With wonder at what he had witnessed, Wildrake felt some 
anxiety on his own account. Though not the most reflecting 
of mortals, he had sense enough to know, that it is dangerous 
to be a witness of the infirmities of men high in power; and 
he was left so long by himself, as induced him to entertain 
some secret doubts, whether the General might not be tempted 
to take means of confining or removing a witness, who had 
seen him lowered, as it seemed by the suggestions of his 
own conscience, beneath that lofty flight, which, in general, he 
affected to sustain above the rest of the sublunary world. 

In this, however, he wronged Cromwell, who was free either 
from an extreme degree of jealous suspicion, or from anything 
which approached towards blood-thirstiness. Pearson appeared, 
after a lapse of about an hour, and, intimating to Wildrake that 
he was to follow, conducted him into a distant apartment, in 
which he found the General seated on a low couch. His 
daughter was in the apartment, but remained at some distance, 
apparently busied with some female needlework, and scarce 
turned her head as Pearson and Wildrake entered. 

At a sign from the Lord-General, Wildrake approached him 
as before. "Comrade," he said, "your old friends the cavaliers 
look on me as their enemy, and conduct themselves towards me 
as if they desired to make me such. I profess they are labour- 
ing to their own prejudice ; for I regard and have ever regarded 
them as honest and honourable fools, who were silly enough 
to run their necks into nooses and their heads against stone- 
walls, that a man called Stewart, and no other, should be king 
over them. Fools ! are there no words made of letters that 
would sound as well as Charles Stewart, with that magic title 
beside them ? Why, the word King is like a lighted lamp, 
that throws the same bright gilding upon any combination of 
the alphabet, and yet you must shed your blood for a name ! 
But thou, for thy part, shalt have no wrong from me. Here is 
an order, well warranted, to clear the Lodge at Woodstock, 
and abandon it to thy master's keeping, or those whom he shall 
appoint. He will have his uncle and pretty cousin with him, 
doubtless. Fare thee well — think on what I told thee. They 
say beauty is a loadstone to yonder long lad thou dost wot of ; 
but I reckon he has other stars at present to direct his course 
than bright eyes and fair hair. Be it as it may, thou knowest 
my purpose — peer out, peer out ; keep a constant and careful 
look-out on every ragged patch that wanders by hedgerow or 
lane — these are days when a beggar's cloak may cover a king's 
ransom. There are some broad Portugal pieces for thee — 
something strange to thy pouch, I ween. Once more, think on 
what thou hast heard, and," he added, in a lower and more 
impressive tone of voice, "forget what thou hast seen. My 



90 WOODSTOCK 

service to thy master ; — and yet once again, remember — and 
forget." — Wildrake made his obeisance, and, returning to his 
inn, left Windsor with all possible speed. 

It was afternoon in the same day when the cavalier rejoined 
his roundhead friend, who was anxiously expecting him at the 
inn in Woodstock appointed for their rendezvous. 

" Where hast thou been ? — what hast thou seen ? — what 
strange uncertainty is in thy looks ? — and why dost thou not 
answer me ? " 

" Because," said Wildrake, laying aside his riding cloak and 
rapier, " you ask so many questions at once. A man has but one 
tongue to answer with, and mine is well-nigh glued to the roof 
of my mouth." 

" Will drink unloosen it ? " said the Colonel ; " though I dare 
say thou hast tried that spell at every alehouse on the road. 
Call for what thou would st have, man, only be quick." 

" Colonel Everard," answered Wildrake, " I have not tasted so 
much as a cup of cold water this day." 

"Then thou art out of humour for that reason," said the 
Colonel ; " salve thy sore with brandy, if thou wilt, but leave 
being so fantastic and unlike to thyself, as thou showest in this 
silent mood." 

" Colonel Everard," replied the cavalier very gravely, " I am 
an altered man." 

" I think thou dost alter," said Everard, " every day in the 
year, and every hour of the day. Come, good now, tell me, hast 
thou seen the General, and got his warrant for clearing out the 
sequestrators from Woodstock ? " 

"I have seen the devil," said Wildrake, "and have, as thou 
say'st, got a warrant from him." 

" Give it me hastily," said Everard, catching at the packet. 

« Forgive me, Mark," said Wildrake ; " if thou knewest the 
purpose with which this deed is granted — if thou knewest — 
what it is not my purpose to tell thee — what manner of hopes 
are founded on thy accepting it, I have that opinion of thee, 
Mark Everard, that thou wouldst as soon take a red-hot horse- 
shoe from the anvil with thy bare hand, as receive into it this 
slip of paper." 

"Come, come," said Everard, "this comes of some of your 
exalted ideas of loyalty, which, excellent within certain bounds, 
drive us mad when encouraged up to some heights. Do not 
think, since I must needs speak plainly with thee, that I see 
without sorrow the downfall of our ancient monarchy, and the 
substitution of another form of government in its stead ; but 
ought my regret for the past to prevent my acquiescing and 
aiding in such measures as are likely to settle the future ? 
The royal cause is ruined, hadst thou and every cavalier in 



WOODSTOCK 



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England sworn the contrary ; ruined, not to rise again — for 
many a day at least. The Parliament, so often draughted and 
drained of those who were courageous enough to maintain 
their own freedom of opinion, is now reduced to a handful 
of statesmen, who have lost the respect of the people, from 
the length of time during which they have held the supreme 
management of affairs. They cannot stand long unless they 
were to reduce the army ; and the army, late servants, are 
now masters, and will refuse to be reduced. They know their 
strength, and that they may be an army subsisting on pay and 
free quarters throughout England as long as they will. I tell 
thee, Wildrake, unless we look to the only man who can rule 
and manage them, we may expect military law throughout the 
land ; and I, for mine own part, look for any preservation of 
our privileges that may be vouchsafed to us, only through the 
wisdom and forbearance of Cromwell. Now, you have my 
secret. You are aware that I am not doing the best I would, 
but the best I can. I wish — not so ardently as thou, perhaps 
— yet I do wish that the King could have been restored on good 
terms of composition, safe for us and for himself. And now, 
good Wildrake, rebel as thou thinkest me, make me no worse 
a rebel than an unwilling one. God knows, I never laid aside 
love and reverence to the King, even in drawing my sword 
against his ill advisers." 

"Ah, plague on you," said Wildrake, "that is the very cant 
of it — that's what you all say. All of you fought against the 
King in pure love and loyalty, and not otherwise. However, 
I see your drift, and I own that I like it better than I expected. 
The army is your bear now, and old Noll is your bearward ; 
and you are like a country constable, who makes interest with 
the bearward that he may prevent him from letting bruin loose. 
Well, there may come a day when the sun will shine on our 
side of the fence, and thereon shall you, and all the good fair- 
weather folks who love the stronger party, come and make 
common cause with us/' 

Without much attending to what his friend said, Colonel 
Everard carefully studied the warrant of Cromwell. "It is 
bolder and more peremptory than I expected," he said. "The 
General must feel himself strong, when he opposes his own 
authority so directly to that of the Council of State and the 
Parliament." 

" You will not hesitate to act upon it ? " said Wildrake. 

" That I certainly will not," answered Everard ; " but I 
must wait till I have the assistance of the Mayor, who, I think, 
will gladly see these fellows ejected from the Lodge. I must 
not go altogether upon military authority, if possible." Then, 
stepping to the door of the apartment, he despatched a servant 



02 WOODSTOCK 

of the house in quest of the Chief Magistrate, desiring he 
should be made acquainted that Colonel Everard desired to 
see him with as little loss of time as possible. 

" You are sure he will come, like a dog at a whistle," said 
Wildrake. "The word captain, or colonel, makes the fat 
citizen trot in these days, when one sword is worth fifty cor- 
poration charters. But there are dragoons yonder, as well as 
the grim-faced knave whom I frightened the other evening 
when I showed my face in at the window. Think'st thou the 
knaves will show no rough play ? " 

" The General's warrant will weigh more with them than a 
dozen Acts of Parliament," said Everard. — " But it is time 
thou eatest, if thou hast in truth ridden from Windsor hither 
without baiting." 

" I care not about it," said Wildrake : " I tell thee, your 
General gave me a breakfast, which, I think, will serve me 
one while, if I am ever able to digest it. By the mass, it 
lay so heavy on my conscience, that I carried it to church 
to see if I could digest it there with my other sins. But not 
a whit." 

" To church ! — to the door of the church, thou meanest," 
said Everard. " I know thy way — thou art ever wont to pull 
thy hat off reverently at the threshold ; but for crossing it, 
that day seldom comes." 

"Well," replied Wildrake, "and if I do pull off my castor 
and kneel, is it not seemly to show the same respects in a 
church which we offer in a palace ? It is a dainty matter, is 
it not, to see your Anabaptists, and Brownists, and the rest of 
you, gather to a sermon with as little ceremony as hogs to a 
trough ! But here comes food, and now for a grace, if I can 
remember one." 

Everard was too much interested about the fate of his uncle 
and his fair cousin, and the prospect of restoring them to their 
quiet home, under the protection of that formidable truncheon 
which was already regarded as the leading-staff of England, to 
remark, that certainly a great alteration had taken place in 
the manners and outward behaviour at least of his companion. 
His demeanour frequently evinced a sort of struggle betwixt 
old habits of indulgence, and some newly formed resolutions of 
abstinence ; and it was almost ludicrous to see how often the 
hand of the neophyte directed itself naturally to a large black 
leathern jack, which contained two double flagons of strong 
ale, and how often, diverted from its purpose by the better 
reflections of the reformed toper, it seized, instead, upon a 
large ewer of salubrious and pure water. 

It was not difficult to see that the task of sobriety was not 
yet become easy, and that, if it had the recommendation of the 



WOODSTOCK 



93 



intellectual portion of the party who had resolved upon it, the 
outward man yielded a reluctant and restive compliance. But 
honest Wildrake had been dreadfully frightened at the course 
proposed to him by Cromwell, and, with a feeling not peculiar 
to the Catholic religion, had formed a solemn resolution within 
his own mind, that, if he came off safe and with honour from 
this dangerous interview, he would show his sense of Heaven's 
favour, by renouncing some of the sins which most easily beset 
him, and especially that of intemperance, to which, like many 
of his wild compeers, he was too much addicted. 

This resolution, or vow, was partly prudential as well as 
religious ; for it occurred to him as very possible, that some 
matters of a difficult and delicate nature might be thrown into 
his hands at the present emergency, during the conduct of 
which it would be fitting for him to act by some better oracle 
than that of the Bottle, celebrated by Rabelais. In full com- 
pliance with this prudent determination, he touched neither 
the ale nor the brandy which were placed before him, and 
declined peremptorily the sack with which his friend would 
have garnished the board. Nevertheless, just as the boy re- 
moved the trenchers and napkins, together with the large black- 
jack which we have already mentioned, and was one or two 
steps on his way to the door, the sinewy arm of the cavalier, 
which seemed to elongate itself on purpose (as it extended far 
beyond the folds of the threadbare jacket), arrested the progress 
of the retiring Ganymede, and seizing on the black-jack, con- 
veyed it to the lips, which were gently breathing forth the 
aspiration, "D — n — I mean, Heaven forgive me — we are poor 
creatures of clay — one modest sip must be permitted to our 
frailty." 

So murmuring, he glued the huge flagon to his lips, and as 
the head was slowly and gradually inclined backwards, in pro- 
portion as the right hand elevated the bottom of the pitcher, 
Everard had great doubts whether the drinker and the cup 
were likely to part until the whole contents of the latter had 
been transferred to the person of the former. Roger Wildrake 
stinted, however, when, by a moderate computation, he had 
swallowed at one draught about a quart and a half. 

He then replaced it on the salver, fetched a long breath to 
refresh his lungs, bade the boy get him gone with the rest of 
the liquors, in a tone which inferred some dread of his con- 
stancy, and then, turning to his friend Everard, he expatiated 
in praise of moderation,, observing that the mouthful which he 
had just taken had been of more service to him than if he had 
remained quaffing healths at table for four hours together. 

His friend made no reply, but could not help being privately 
of opinion that Wildrake's temperance had done as much 



94 WOODSTOCK 

execution on the tankard in his single draught, as some more 
moderate topers might have effected if they had sat sipping for 
an evening. But the subject was changed by the entrance of 
the landlord, who came to announce to his honour Colonel 
Everard, that the worshipful Mayor of Woodstock, with the 
Rev. Master Holdenough, were come to wait upon him. 



CHAPTER X 

Here we have one head 
Upon two bodies — your two-headed bullock 
Is but an ass to such a prodigy. 

These two have but one meaning, thought, and counsel ; 
And, when the single noddle has spoke out, 
The four legs scrape assent to it. 

—Old Play. 

In the goodly form of the honest Mayor, there was a bustling 
mixture of importance and embarrassment, like the deportment 
of a man who was conscious that he had an important part to 
act, if he could but exactly discover what that part was. But 
both were mingled with much pleasure at seeing Everard, and 
he frequently repeated his welcomes and all-hails before he 
could be brought to attend to what that gentleman said in 
reply. 

" Good, worthy Colonel, you are indeed a desirable sight to 
Woodstock at all times, being, as I may say, almost our towns- 
man, as you have dwelt so much and so long at the palace. 
Truly, the matter begins almost to pass my wit, though I have 
transacted the affairs of this borough for many a long day ; and 
you are come to my assistance like, like " 

" Tanquam Deus ex machina, as the Ethnic poet hath it," said 
Master Holdenough, " although I do not often, quote from such 
books. — Indeed, Master Markham Everard, — or worthy Colonel, 
as I ought rather to say — you are simply the most welcome 
man who has come to Woodstock since the days of old King 
Harry." 

"I had some business with you, my good friend," said the 
Colonel, addressing the Mayor ; " I shall be glad if it should 
so happen at the same time, that I may find occasion to plea- 
sure you or your worthy pastor." 

"No question you can do so, good sir," interposed Master 
Holdenough ; " you have the heart, sir, and you have the hand ; 
and we are much in want of good counsel, and that from a man 
of action. I am aware, worthy Colonel, that you and your 
worthy father have ever borne yourselves in these turmoils like 



WOODSTOCK 



95 



men of a truly Christian and moderate spirit, striving to pour 
oil into the wounds of the land, which some would rub with 
vitriol and pepper; and we know you are faithful children of 
that Church which we have reformed from its papistical and 
prelatical tenets." 

" My good and reverend friend," said Everard, " I respect 
the piety and learning of many of your teachers ; but I am 
also for liberty of conscience to all men. I neither side with 
sectaries, nor do I desire to see them the object of suppression 
by violence." 

u Sir, sir," said the Presbyterian hastily, " all this hath a fair 
sound ; but I would you should think what a fine country and 
Church- we are like to have of it, amidst the errors, blasphemies, 
and schisms, which are daily introduced into the Church and 
kingdom of England, so that worthy Master Edwards, in his 
Gangrena, declareth that our native country is about to become 
the very sink and cesspool of all schisms, heresies, blasphemies, 
and confusions, as the army of Hannibal was said to be the 
refuse of all nations — Colluvies omnium gentium. — Believe me, 
worthy Colonel, that they of the Honourable House view all 
this over lightly, and with the winking connivance of old 
Eli. These instructors, the schismatics, shoulder the orthodox 
ministers out of their pulpits, thrust themselves into families, 
and break up the peace thereof, stealing away men's hearts 
from the established faith." 

"My good Master Holdenough," replied the Colonel, inter- 
rupting the zealous preacher, " there is ground of sorrow for 
all these unhappy discords ; and I hold with you, that the fiery 
spirits of the present time have raised men's minds at once 
above sober-minded and sincere religion, and above decorum 
and common sense. But there is no help save patience. En- 
thusiasm is a stream that may foam off in its own time, whereas 
it is sure to bear down every barrier which is directly opposed 
to it. — But what are these schismatical proceedings to our pre- 
sent purpose ? " 

" Why, partly this, sir," said Holdenough, " although perhaps 
you may make less of it than I should have thought before 
we met. — I was myself — I, Nehemiah Holdenough [he added 
consequentially], was forcibly expelled from my own pulpit, 
even as a man should have been thrust out of his own house, 
by an alien, and an intruder — a wolf, who was not at the 
trouble even to put on sheep's clothing, but came in his native 
wolfish attire of buff and bandoleer, and held forth in my stead 
to the people, who are to me as a flock to the lawful shepherd. 
It is too true, sir — Master Mayor saw it, and strove to take such 
order to prevent it as man might, though," turning to the 
Mayor, " I think still you might have striven a little more." 



96 WOODSTOCK 

" Good now, good Master Holdenough, do not let us go back 
on that question/' said the Mayor. " Guy of Warwick, or Bevis 
of Hampton, might do something with this generation ; but 
truly, they are too many and too strong for the Mayor of 
Woodstock." 

" I think Master Mayor speaks very good sense," said the 
Colonel ; " if the Independents are not allowed to preach, I 
fear me they will not fight ; — and then if you were to have 
another rising of cavaliers ? " 

"There are worse folks may rise than cavaliers," said Hold- 
enough. 

" How, sir ? " replied Colonel Everard. " Let me remind 
you, Master Holdenough, that is no safe language in the pre- 
sent state of the nation." 

"I say," said the Presbyterian, "there are worse folk may 
rise than cavaliers ; and I will prove what I say. The devil is 
worse than the worst cavalier that ever drank a health, or swore 
an oath — and the devil has arisen at Woodstock Lodge ! " 

"Ay, truly hath he," said the Mayor, "bodily and visibly, in 
figure and form — An awful time we live in ! " 

" Gentlemen, I really know not how I am to understand 
you," said Everard. 

"Why, it was even about the devil we came to speak with 
you," said the Mayor ; " but the worthy minister is always so 
hot upon the sectaries " 

" Which are the devil's brats, and nearly akin to him," said 
Master Holdenough. " But true it is, that the growth of these 
sects has brought up the Evil One even upon the face of the 
earth, to look after his own interest, where he finds it most 
thriving." 

"Master Holdenough," said the Colonel, "if you speak 
figuratively, I have already told you that I have neither the 
means nor the skill sufficient to temper these religious heats. 
But if you design to say that there has been an actual appari- 
tion of the devil, I presume to think that you, with your 
doctrine and your learning, would be a fitter match for him 
than a soldier like me." 

" True, sir ; and I have that confidence in the commission 
which I hold, that I would take the field against the foul fiend 
without a moment's delay," said Holdenough ; " but the place 
in which he hath of late appeared, being Woodstock, is filled 
with those dangerous and impious persons, of whom I have 
been but now complaining ; and though, confident in my own 
resources, I dare venture in disputation with their Great Master 
himself ; yet without your protection, most worthy Colonel, I 
see not that I may with prudence trust myself with the tossing 
and goring ox Desborough, or the bloody and devouring bear 



WOODSTOCK 



97 



Harrison, or the cold and poisonous snake Bletson — all of whom 
are now at the Lodge, doing licence and taking spoil as they 
think meet ; and, as all men say, the devil has come to make 
a fourth with them." 

" In good truth, worthy and noble sir," said the Mayor, " it 
is even as Master Holdenough says — our privileges are declared 
void, our cattle seized in the very pastures. They talk of cut- 
ting down and disparking the fair Chase, which has been so 
long the pleasure of so many kings, and making Woodstock of 
as little note as any paltry village. I assure you we heard of 
your arrival with joy, and wondered at your keeping yourself 
so close in your lodgings. We know no one save your father 
or you, that are like to stand the poor burgesses' friend in this 
extremity, since almost all the gentry around are malignants, 
and under sequestration. We trust, therefore, you will make 
strong intercession in our behalf." 

" Certainly, Master Mayor," said the Colonel, who saw him- 
self with pleasure anticipated ; " it was my very purpose to 
have interfered in this matter ; and I did but keep myself alone 
until I should be furnished with some authority from the Lord- 
General." 

" Powers from the Lord-General ! " said the Mayor, thrusting 
the clergyman with his elbow — " Dost thou hear that ? — What 
cock will fight that cock ? We shall carry it now over their necks, 
and Woodstock shall be brave Woodstock still ! " 

" Keep thine elbow from my side, friend," said Holdenough, 
annoyed by the action which the Mayor had suited to his words ; 
" and may the Lord send that Cromwell prove not as sharp to 
the people of England as thy bones against my person ! Yet 
I approve that we should use his authority to stop the course 
of these men's proceedings." 

" Let us set out, then," said Colonel Everard ; " and I trust we 
shall find the gentlemen reasonable and obedient." 

The functionaries, laic and clerical, assented with much joy ; 
and the Colonel required and received Wildrake's assistance in 
putting on his cloak and rapier, as if he had been the dependent 
whose part he acted. The cavalier contrived, however, while 
doing him these menial offices, to give his friend a shrewd pinch, 
in order to maintain the footing of secret equality betwixt them. 

The Colonel was saluted, as they passed through the streets, 
by many of the anxious inhabitants, who seemed to consider 
his intervention as affording the only chance of saving their 
fine Park, and the rights of the corporation, as well as of indi- 
viduals, from ruin and confiscation. 

As they entered the Park, the Colonel asked his companions, 
"What is this you say of apparitions being seen amongst 
them?" 

G 



98 WOODSTOCK 




" Why, Colonel/' said the clergyman, " you know yourself that 
Woodstock was always haunted ? " 

" I have lived therein many a day/' said the Colonel ; e< and 
I know that I never saw the least sign of it, although idle 
people spoke of the house as they do of all old mansions, and 
gave the apartments ghosts and spectres to fill up the places of 
as many of the deceased great, as had ever dwelt there." 

" Nay, but, good Colonel," said the clergyman, *f I trust you 
have not reached the prevailing sin of the times, and become 
indifferent to the testimony in favour of apparitions, which 
appears so conclusive to all but atheists, and advocates for 
witches ? " 

"I would not absolutely disbelieve what is so generally 
affirmed," said the Colonel ; " but my reason leads me to doubt 
most of the stories which I have heard of this sort, and my own 
experience never went to confirm any of them." 

" Ay, but trust me," said Holdenough, " there was always a 
demon of one or the other species about this Woodstock. Not 
a man or woman in the town but has heard stories of appari- 
tions in the forest, or about the old castle. Sometimes it is a 
pack of hounds, that sweep along, and the whoops and holloos 
of the hunstmen, and the winding of horns and the galloping 
of horse, which is heard as if first more distant, and then close 
around you — -and then anon it is a solitary huntsman, who asks 
if you can tell him which way the stag has gone. He is always 
dressed in green ; but the fashion of his clothes is some five 
hundred years old. This is what we call Demon Meridianum 
— the noonday spectre." 

"My worthy and reverend sir," said the Colonel, "I have 
lived at Woodstock many seasons, and have traversed the Chase 
at all hours. Trust me, what you hear from the villagers is the 
growth of their idle folly and superstition." 

" Colonel," replied Holdenough, " a negative proves nothing. 
What signifies, craving your pardon, that you have not seen 
anything, be it earthly or be it of the other world, to detract 
from the evidence of a score of people who have ? — And be- I 
sides, there is the Demon Nocturnum — the being that walketh 
by night ; he has been among these Independents and schis- 
matics last night. Ay, Colonel, you may stare ; but it is even 
so — they may try whether he will mend their gifts, as they ] 
profanely call them, of exposition and prayer. No, sir, I trow, ! 
to master the foul fiend there goeth some competent knowledge 
of theology, and an acquaintance of the humane letters, ay, and 
a regular clerical education and clerical calling." 

"1 do not in the least doubt," said the Colonel, "the efficacy 
of your qualifications to lay the devil ; but still I think some 
odd mistake has occasioned this confusion amongst them, if 



I 



WOODSTOCK 



99 



there has any such in reality existed. Desborough is a block- 
head, to be sure ; and Harrison is fanatic enough to believe any- 
thing. But there is Bletson, on the other hand, who believes 
nothing. — What do you know of this matter, good Master 
Mayor ? " 

" In sooth, and it was Master Bletson who gave the first 
alarm," replied the magistrate; "or, at least, the first distinct 
one. You see, sir, I was in bed with my wife, and no one else ; 
and I was as fast asleep as a man can desire to be at two hours 
after midnight, when, behold you, they came knocking at my 
bedroom door, to tell me there was an alarm in Woodstock, and 
that the bell of the Lodge was ringing at that dead hour of the 
night as hard as ever it rung when it called the court to 
dinner." 

" Well, but the cause of this alarm ? " said the Colonel. 

" You shall hear, worthy Colonel, you shall hear," answered 
the Mayor, waving his hand with dignity ; for he was one of 
those persons who will not be hurried out of their own pace. 
"So Mrs. Mayor would have persuaded me, in her love and 
affection, poor wretch, that to rise at such an hour out of my 
own warm bed, was like to bring on my old complaint the 
lumbago, and that I should send the people to Alderman 
Dutton. — Alderman Devil, Mrs. Mayor, said I ; — I beg your 
reverence's pardon for using such a phrase — Do you think I 
am going to lie a-bed when the town is on fire, and the cavaliers 
up, and the devil to pay ; — I beg pardon again, parson. — But 
here we are before the gate of the Palace ; will it not please 
you to enter ? " 

" I would first hear the end of your story," said the Colonel ; 
"that is, Master Mayor, if it happens to have an end." 

" Everything hath an end," said the Mayor, " and that which 
we call a pudding hath two. — Your worship will forgive me for 
being facetious. Where was I ? — Oh, I jumped out' of bed, and 
put on my red plush breeches, with the blue nether stocks, for 
I always make a point of being dressed suitably to my dignity, 
night and day, summer or winter, Colonel Everard ; and I took 
the Constable along with me, in case the alarm should be raised 
by night-walkers or thieves, and called up worthy Master Hold- 
enough out of his bed, in case it should turn out to be the 
devil. And so I thought I was provided for the worst, and 
so away we came ; and, by-and-by, the soldiers who came 
to the town with Master Tomkins, who had been called to 
arms, came marching down to Woodstock as fast as their 
feet would carry them ; so I gave our people the sign to let 
them pass us, and outmarch us, as it were, and this for a two- 
fold reason." 

"I will be satisfied," interrupted the Colonel, "with one 



IOO 



WOODSTOCK 



good reason. You desired the red-coats should have the jirst 
of the fray ? " 

" True, sir, very true ; — and also that they should have the 
last of it, in respect that fighting is their especial business. 
However, we came on at a slow pace, as men who are deter- 
mined to do their duty without fear or favour, when suddenly 
we saw something white haste away up the avenue towards the 
town, when six of our constables and assistants fled at once, as 
conceiving it to be an apparition called the White Woman of 
Woodstock/' 

" Look you there, Colonel," said Master Holdenough, " I told 
you there were demons of more kinds than one, which haunt 
the ancient scenes of royal debauchery and cruelty." 

"I hope you stood your own ground, Master Mayor?" said 
the Colonel. 

"I — yes — most assuredly — that is, I did not, strictly speak- 
ing, keep my ground ; but the town-clerk and I retreated — 
retreated, Colonel, and without confusion or dishonour, and took 
post behind worthy Master Holdenough, who, with the spirit of 
a lion, threw himself in the way of the supposed spectre, and 
attacked it with such a siserary of Latin as might have scared 
the devil himself, and thereby plainly discovered that it was no 
devil at all, nor white woman, neither woman of any colour, 
but worshipful Master Bletson, a member of the House of 
Commons, and one of the commissioners sent hither upon this 
unhappy sequestration of the Wood, Chase, and Lodge of 
Wooodstock." 

" And this was all you saw of the demon ? " said the Colonel. 

" Truly, yes," answered the Mayor ; f and I had no wish to 
see more. However, we conveyed Master Bletson, as in duty 
bound, back to the Lodge, and he was ever maundering by the 
way how that he met a party of scarlet devils incarnate march- 
ing down to the Lodge ; but, to my poor thinking, it must have 
been the Independent dragoons who had just passed us." 

" And more incarnate devils I would never wish to see," said 
Wildrake, who could remain silent no longer. His voice, so 
suddenly heard, showed how much the Mayors nerves were 
still alarmed, for he started and jumped aside with an alacrity 
of which no one would at first sight suppose a man of his portly 
dignity to have been capable. Everard imposed silence on his 
intrusive attendant ; and, desirous to hear the conclusion of this 
strange story, requested the Mayor to tell him how the matter 
ended, and whether they stopped the supposed spectre. 

" Truly, worthy sir," said the Mayor, u Master Holdenough 
was quite venturous upon confronting, as it were, the devil, and 
compelling him to appear under the real form of Master Joshua 
Bletson, member of Parliament for the borough of Littlefaith." 



WOODSTOCK 



IOI 



" In sooth, Master Mayor/' said the divine, " I were strangely 
ignorant of my own commission and its immunities, if I were 
to value opposing myself to Satan, or any Independent in his 
likeness, all of whom, in the name of Him I serve, I do defy, 
spit at, and trample under my feet ; and because Master Mayor 
is something tedious, I will briefly inform your honour that we 
saw little of the Enemy that night, save what Master Bletson 
said in the first feeling of his terrors, and save what we might 
collect from the disordered appearance of the Honourable 
Colonel Desborough and Major-General Harrison." 

" And what plight were they in, I pray you ? " demanded the 
Colonel. 

"Why, worthy sir, every one might see with half an eye 
that they had been engaged in a fight wherein they had not 
been honoured with perfect victory ; seeing that General Har- 
rison was stalking up and down the parlour, with his drawn 
sword in his hand, talking to himself, his doublet unbuttoned, 
his points untrussed, his garters loose, and like to throw him 
down as he now and then trode on them, and gaping and 
grinning like a mad player. And yonder sat Desborough with 
a dry pottle of sack before him, which he had just emptied, 
and which, though the element in which he trusted, had not 
restored him sense enough to speak, or courage enough to look 
over his shoulder. He had a Bible 4 in his hand, forsooth, as if 
it would of itself make battle against the Evil One ; but I peered 
over his shoulder, and, alas ! the good gentleman held the bottom 
of the page uppermost. It was as if one of your musketeers, 
noble and valued sir, were to present the butt of his piece at 
the enemy instead of the muzzle — ha, ha, ha ! it was a sight 
to judge of schismatics by ; both in point of head, and in point 
of heart, in point of skill, and in point of courage. — Oh ! Colonel, 
then was the time to see the true character of an authorised 
pastor of souls over those unhappy men, who leap into the fold 
without due and legal authority, and will, forsooth, preach, 
teach, and exhort, and blasphemously term the doctrine of the 
Church saltless porridge and dry chips ! " 

" I have no doubt you were ready to meet the danger, reve- 
rend sir ; but I would fain know of what nature it was, and from 
whence it was to be apprehended ? " 

" Was it for me to make such inquiry ? " said the clergyman 
triumphantly. " Is it for a brave soldier to number his enemies, 
or inquire from what quarter they are to come ? No, sir, I was 
there with match lighted, bullet in my mouth, and my harque- 
buss shouldered, to encounter as ^many devils as hell could pour 
in, were they countless as motes in the sunbeam, and although 
they came from all points of the compass. The Papists talk of 
the temptation of St. Anthony — pshaw! let them double all 



102 WOODSTOCK 

the myriads which the brain of a crazy Dutch painter hath in- 
vented, and you will find a poor Presbyterian divine — I will 
answer for one at least, — who, not in his own strength, but his 
Master's, will receive the assault in such sort, that far from re- 
turning against him as against yonder poor hound, day after 
day, and night after night, he will at once pack them off as 
with a vengeance to the uttermost parts of Assyria ! " 

" Still," said the Colonel, se I pray to know whether you saw 
anything upon which to exercise your pious learning ? " 

" Saw ? " answered the divine ; " no, truly, I saw nothing, 
nor did I look for anything. Thieves will not attack well- 
armed travellers, nor will devils or evil spirits come against one 
who bears in his bosom the word of truth, in the very language 
in which it was first dictated. No, sir, they shun a divine who 
can understand the holy text, as a crow is said to keep wide of 
a gun loaded with hailshot." 

They had walked a little way back upon their road, to give 
time for this conversation ; and the Colonel, perceiving it was 
about to lead to no satisfactory explanation of the real cause of 
alarm on the preceding night, turned round, and observing it 
was time they should go to the Lodge, began to move in that 
direction with his three companions. 

It had now become dark, and the towers of Woodstock arose 
high above the ambrageous shroud which the forest spread 
around the ancient and venerable mansion. From one of the 
highest turrets, which could still be distinguished as it rose 
against the clear blue sky, there gleamed a light like that of 
a candle within the building. The Mayor stopt short, and 
catching fast hold of the divine, and then of Colonel Everard, 
exclaimed, in a trembling and hasty, but suppressed tone — 

" Do you see yonder light ? " 

" Ay, marry do I," said Colonel Everard ; " and what does 
that matter ? — a light in a garret-room of such an old mansion 
as Woodstock is no subject of wonder, I trow." 

" But a light from Rosamond's Tower is surely so," said the 
Mayor. 

"True," said the Colonel, something surprised, when, after 
a careful examination, he satisfied himself that the worthy 
magistrate's conjecture was right. "That is indeed Rosamond's 
Tower ; and as the drawbridge by which it was accessible has 
been destroyed for centuries, it is hard to say what chance could 
have lighted a lamp in such an inaccessible place." 

" That light burns with no earthly fuel," said the Mayor ; 
" neither from whale nor olive oil, nor bees-wax, nor mutton-suet 
either. I dealt in these commodities, Colonel, before I went 
into my present line ; and I can assure you I could distinguish 
the sort of light they give, one from another, at a greater 



WOODSTOCK 103 

distance than yonder turret — Look you, that is no earthly 
flame. — See you not something blue and reddish upon the 
edges ? — that bodes full well where it comes from. — Colonel, 
in my opinion we had better go back to sup at the town, 
and leave the devil and the red-coats to settle their matters 
together for to-night ; and then when we come back the next 
morning, we will have a pull with the party that chances to 
keep a-field." 

"You will do as you please, Master Mayor," said Everard, 
" but my duty requires me that I should see the Commissioners 
to-night." 

" And mine requires me to see the foul Fiend," said Master 
Holdenough, "if he dare make himself visible to me. I wonder 
not that, knowing who is approaching, he betakes himself to 
the very citadel, the inner and the last defences of this ancient 
and haunted mansion. He is dainty, I warrant you, and must 
dwell where is a relish of luxury and murder about the walls of 
his chamber. In yonder turret sinned Rosamond, and in yonder 
turret she suffered ; and there she sits, or more likely, the 
Enemy in her shape, as I have heard true men of Woodstock 
tell. I wait on you, good Colonel — Master Mayor will do as he 
pleases. The strong man hath fortified himself in his dwelling- 
house, but, lo, there cometh another stronger than he." 

"For me," said the Mayor, "who am as unlearned as I am 
unwarlike, I will not engage either with the Powers of the 
Earth, or the Prince of the Powers of the Air, and I would we 
were again at Woodstock ; — and hark ye, good fellow," slapping 
Wildrake on the shoulder, " I will bestow on thee a shilling wet 
and a shilling dry if thou wilt go back with me." 

" Gadzookers, Master Mayor, " said Wildrake, neither flattered 
by the magistrate's familiarity of address, nor captivated by his 
munificence — " I wonder who the devil made you and me 
fellows ? and, besides, do you think I would go back to Wood- 
stock with your worshipful cod's-head, when, by good manage- 
ment, I may get a peep of fair Rosamond, and see whether she 
was that choice and incomparable piece of ware, which the 
world has been told of by rhymers and ballad-makers ? " 

"Speak less lightly and wantonly, friend," said the divine; 
" we are to resist the devil that he may flee from us, and not 
to tamper with him, or enter into his counsels, or traffic with 
the merchandise of his great Vanity Fair." 

" Mind what the good man says, Wildrake," said the Colonel ; 
"and take heed another time how thou dost suffer thy wit to 
outrun discretion." 

" I am beholden to the reverend gentleman for his advice," 
answered Wildrake, upon whose tongue it was difficult to im- 
pose any curb whatever, even when his own safety rendered it 



104 WOODSTOCK 

most desirable. "But, gadzookers, let him have had what 
experience he will in fighting with the devil, he never saw one 
so black as I had a tussle with — not a hundred years ago." 

" How, friend/' said the clergyman, who understood every- 
thing literally when apparitions were mentioned, " have you 
had so late a visitation of Satan? Believe me, then, that I 
wonder why thou darest to entertain his name so often and so 
lightly, as I see thou dost use it in thy ordinary discourse. But 
when and where didst thou see the Evil One ? " 

Everard hastily interposed, lest by something yet more 
strongly alluding to Cromwell, his imprudent squire should, 
in mere wantonness, betray his interview with the General. 
" The young man raves," he said, " of a dream which he had 
the other night, when he and I slept together in Victor Lee's 
chamber, belonging to the Ranger's apartments at the Lodge." 

"Thanks for help at a pinch, good patron," said Wildrake, 
whispering into Everard' s ear, who in vain endeavoured to 
shake him off, — " a fib never failed a fanatic." 

"You, also, spoke something too lightly of these matters, 
considering the work which we have in hand, worthy Colonel," 
said the Presbyterian divine. " Believe me, the young man, 
thy servant, was more likely to see visions than to dream 
merely idle dreams in that apartment ; for I have always 
heard, that, next to Rosamond's Tower, in which, as I said, 
she played the wanton, and was afterwards poisoned by Queen 
Eleanor, Victor Lee's chamber was the place in the Lodge of 
Woodstock more peculiarly the haunt of evil spirits. — I pray 
you, young man, tell me this dream or vision of yours." 

"With all my heart, sir," said Wildrake — then addressing 
his patron, who began to interfere, he said, "Tush, sir, you 
have had the discourse for an hour, and why should not I hold 
forth in my turn ? By this darkness, if you keep me silent any 
longer, I will turn Independent preacher, and stand up in your 
despite for the freedom of private judgment. — And so, reverend 
sir, I was dreaming of a carnal divertisement called a bull- 
baiting ; and methought they were venturing dogs at head, as 
merrily as e'er I saw them at Tutbury bull-running ; and me- 
thought I heard some one say, there was the devil come to 
have a sight of the bull-ring. Well, I thought that, gadswoons, 
I would have a peep at his Infernal Majesty. So I looked, 
and there was a butcher in greasy woollen, with his steel by his 
side ; but he was none of the devil. And there was a drunken 
cavalier, with his mouth full of oaths, and his stomach full of 
emptiness, and a gold-laced waistcoat in a very dilapidated 
condition, and a ragged hat, with a piece of a feather in it ; 
and he was none of the Devil neither. And here was a miller, 
his hands dusty with meal, and every atom of it stolen ; and 



WOODSTOCK 



there was a vintner, his green apron stained with wine, and 
every drop of it sophisticated ; but neither was the old gentle- 
man I looked for to be detected among these artisans of iniquity. 
At length, sir, I saw a grave person with cropped hair, a pair 
of longish and projecting ears, a band as broad as a slobbering 
bib under his chin, a brown coat surmounted by a Geneva cloak, 
and I had old Nicholas at once in his genuine paraphernalia, 
by .*' 

" Shame, shame ! " said Colonel Everard. " What ! behave 
thus to an old gentleman and a divine ! " 

"Nay, let him proceed," said the minister, with perfect 
equanimity, " if thy friend, or secretary, is gibing, I must have 
less patience than becomes my profession, if I could not bear 
an idle jest, and forgive him who makes it. Or if, on the 
other hand, the Enemy has really presented himself to the 
young man in such a guise as he intimates, wherefore should 
we be surprised that he, who can take upon him the form of an 
angel of light, should be able to assume that of a frail and 
peccable mortal, whose spiritual calling and profession ought, 
indeed, to induce him to make his life an example to others; 
but whose conduct, nevertheless, such is the imperfection of our 
unassisted nature, sometimes rather presents us with a warning 
of what we should shun ? ' 

" Now, by the mass, honest dominie — 1 mean reverend sir — 
I crave you a thousand pardons," said Wildrake, penetrated by 
the quietness and patience of the presbyter's rebuke. " By 
St. George, if quiet patience will do it, thou art fit to play a 
game at foils with the Devil himself, and I would be contented 
to hold stakes." 

As he concluded an apology, which was certainly not uncalled 
for, and seemed to be received in perfectly good part, they 
approached so close to the exterior door of the Lodge, that they 
were challenged with the emphatic Stand, by a sentinel who 
mounted guard there. Colonel Everard replied, A friend; 
and the sentinel repeating his command, * Stand, friend," pro- 
ceeded to call the corporal of the guard. The corporal came 
forth, and at the same time turned out his guard. Colonel 
Everard gave his name and designation, as well as those of his 
companions, on which the corporal said, "he doubted not there 
would be orders for his instant admission ; but, in the first 
place, Master Tomkins must be consulted, that he might learn 
their honours' mind." 

" How, sir ! " said the Colonel, " do you, knowing who I am, 
presume to keep me on the outside of your post ? " 

" Not if your honour pleases to enter," said the corporal, 
"and undertakes to be my warranty; but such are the orders 
of my post." 



io6 



WOODSTOCK 



" Nay, then, do your duty," said the Colonel ; " but are the 
cavaliers up, or what is the matter, that you keep so close and 
strict a watch ?" 

The fellow gave no distinct answer, but muttered between 
his moustaches something about the Enemy, and the roaring 
Lion, who goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Pre- 
sently afterwards Tomkins appeared, followed by two servants, 
bearing lights in great standing brass candlesticks. They 
marched before Colonel Everard and his party, keeping as close 
to each other as two cloves of the same orange, and starting 
from time to time ; and shouldering as they passed through 
sundry intricate passages, they led up a large and ample wooden 
staircase, the banisters, rail, and lining of which were executed 
in black oak, and finally into a long saloon, or parlour, where 
there was a prodigious fire, and about twelve candles of the 
largest size distributed in sconces against the wall. There 
were seated the Commissioners, who now held in their power 
the ancient mansion and royal domain of Woodstock. 



CHAPTER XI 

The bloody bear, an independent beast, 
Unlick'd to forms, in groans his hate express' d — 

Next him the buffoon ape, as atheists use, 
Mimick'd all sects, and had his own to choose. 

— Hind and Panther. 

The strong light in the parlour which we have described, 
served to enable Everard easily to recognise his acquaintances, 
Desborough, Harrison, and Bletson, who had assembled round 
an oak table of large dimensions, placed near the blazing 
chimney, on which were arranged wine, and ale, and materials 
for smoking, then the general indulgence of the time. There 
was a species of movable cupboard set betwixt the table and I 
the door, calculated originally for a display of plate upon grand 
occasions, but at present only used as a screen ; which purpose 
it served so effectually, that, ere he had coasted around it, 
Everard heard the following fragment of what Desborough was 
saying, in his strong coarse voice : — " Sent him to share with 
us, I'se warrant ye — It was always his Excellency my brother- 
in-law's way — if he made a treat for five friends, he would 
invite more than the table could hold — I have known him ask 
three men to eat two eggs." 

" Hush, hush," said Bletson ; and the servants, making their 
appearance from behind the tall cupboard, announced Colonel 



WOODSTOCK 107 

Everard. It may not be uninteresting to the reader to have a 
description of the party into which he now entered. 

Desborough was a stout, bull-necked man, of middle-size, 
with heavy vulgar features, grizzled bushy eyebrows, and wall- 
eyes. The flourish of his powerful relative's fortunes had burst 
forth in the finery of his dress, which was much more orna- 
mented than was usual among the roundheads. There was 
embroidery on his cloak, and lace upon his band ; his hat dis- 
played a feather with a golden clasp, and all his habiliments 
were those of a cavalier, or follower of the court, rather than 
the plain dress of a parliamentarian officer. But, Heaven 
knows, there was little of courtlike grace or dignity in the 
person or demeanour of the individual, who became his fine 
suit as the hog on the sign-post does his gilded armour. It 
was not that he was positively deformed, or misshaped, for, 
taken in detail, the figure was well enough. But his limbs 
seemed to act upon different and contradictory principles. 
They were not, as the play says, in a concatenation accord- 
ingly ; — the right hand moved as if it were upon bad terms 
with the left, and the legs showed an inclination to foot it in 
different and opposite directions. In short, to use an extrava- 
gant comparison, the members of Colonel Desborough seemed 
rather to resemble the disputatious representatives of a federa- 
tive congress, than the well-ordered union of the orders of the 
state, in a firm and well-compacted monarchy, where each 
holds his own place, and all obey the dictates of a common 
head. 

General Harrison, the second of the Commissioners, was a 
tall, thin, middle-aged man, who had risen into his high situa- 
tion in the army, and his intimacy with Cromwell, by his 
dauntless courage in the field, and the popularity he had ac- 
quired by his exalted enthusiasm amongst the military saints, 
sectaries, and Independents, who composed the strength of the 
existing army. Harrison was of mean extraction, and bred up 
to his father's employment of a butcher. Nevertheless, his 
appearance, though coarse, was not vulgar, like that of Des- 
borough, who had so much the advantage of him in birth and 
education. He had a masculine height and strength of figure, 
was well made, and in his manner announced a rough military 
character, which might be feared, but could not easily become 
the object of contempt or ridicule. His aquiline nose and dark 
black eyes set off to some advantage a countenance otherwise 
irregular, and the wild enthusiasm that sometimes sparkled in 
them as he dilated on his opinions to others, and often seemed 
to slumber under his long dark eyelashes as he mused upon 
them himself, gave something strikingly wild, and even noble 
to his aspect. He was one of the chief leaders of those who 



io8 



WOODSTOCK 



were called Fifth -Monarchy men, who, going even beyond the 
general fanaticism of the age, presumptuously interpreted the 
Book of the Revelations after their own] fancies, considered that 
the second Advent of the Messiah, and the Millennium, or 
reign of the Saints upon earth, was close at hand, and that 
they themselves, illuminated, as they believed, with the power 
of foreseeing these approaching events, were the chosen instru- 
ments for the establishment of the New Reign, or Fifth Mon- 
archy, as it was called, and were fated also to win its honours, 
whether celestial or terrestrial. 

When this spirit of enthusiasm, which operated like a partial 
insanity, was not immediately affecting Harrison's mind, he 
was a shrewd worldly man, and a good soldier ; one who missed 
no opportunity of mending his fortune, and who, in expecting 
the exaltation of the Fifth Monarchy, was, in the meanwhile, a 
ready instrument for the establishment of the Lord-General's 
supremacy. Whether it was owing to his early occupation, 
and habits of indifference to pain or bloodshed acquired in the 
shambles, to natural disposition and want of feeling, or, finally, 
to the awakened character of his enthusiasm, which made him 
look upon those who opposed him, as opposing the Divine will, 
and therefore meriting no favour or mercy, is not easy to say ; 
but all agreed, that after a victory, or the successful storm of a 
town, Harrison was one of the most cruel and pitiless men in 
Cromwell's army ; always urging some misapplied text to 
authorise the continued execution of the fugitives, and some- 
times even putting to death those who had surrendered them- 
selves prisoners. It was said, that at times the recollection of 
some of these cruelties troubled his conscience, and disturbed 
the dreams of beatification in which his imagination indulged. 

When Everard entered the apartment, this true representa- 
tive of the fanatical soldiers of the day, who filled those ranks 
and regiments which Cromwell had politically kept on foot, 
while he procured the reduction of those in which the Presby- 
terian interest predominated, was seated a little apart from the 
others, his legs crossed, and stretched out at length towards the 
fire, his head resting on his elbow, and turned upwards, as if 
studying, with the most profound gravity, the half-seen carving 
of the Gothic roof. 

Bletson remains to be mentioned, who, in person and figure, 
was diametrically different from the other two. There was 
neither foppery nor slovenliness in his exterior, nor had he any 
marks of military service or rank about his person. A small 
walking rapier seemed merely worn as a badge of his rank as a 
gentleman, without his hand having the least purpose of be- 
coming acquainted with the hilt, or his eye with the blade. 
His countenance was thin and acute, marked with lines which 



WOODSTOCK 109 

thought rather than age had traced upon it; and a habitual 
sneer on his countenance, even when he least wished to express 
contempt on his features, seemed to assure the individual^ ad- 
dressed, that in Bletson he conversed with a person of intellect 
far superior to his own. This was a triumph of intellect only, 
however; for on all occasions of difference respecting specula- 
tive opinions, and indeed on all controversies whatsoever, Bletson 
avoided the ultimate ratio of blows and knocks. 

Yet this peaceful gentleman had found himself obliged to 
serve personally in the Parliamentary army at the commence- 
ment of the Civil War, till happening unluckily to come in 
contact with the fiery Prince Rupert, his retreat was judged so 
precipitate, that it required all the shelter his friends could 
afford, to keep him free of an impeachment or a court-martial. 
But as Bletson spoke well, and with great effect in the House 
of Commons, which was his natural sphere, and was on that 
account high in the estimation of his party, his behaviour at 
Edgehill was passed over, and he continued to take an active 
share in all the political events of that bustling period, though 
he faced not again the actual front of war. 

Bletson's theoretical politics had long inclined him to 
espouse the opinions of Harrington and others, who adopted the 
visionary idea of establishing a pure democratical republic in 
so extensive a country as Britain. This was a rash theory, where 
there is such an infinite difference betwixt ranks, habits, educa- 
tion, and morals — where there is such an immense disproportion 
betwixt the wealth of individuals — and where a large portion 
of the inhabitants consist of the inferior classes of the large 
towns and manufacturing districts — men unfitted to bear that 
share in the direction of a state, which must be exercised by 
the members of a republic in the proper sense of the word. 
Accordingly, as soon as the experiment was made, it became 
obvious that no such form of government could be adopted 
with the smallest chance of stability ; and the question came 
only to be, whether the remnant, or, as it was vulgarly called, 
the Rump of the Long Parliament, now reduced by the seclu- 
sion of so many of the members to a few scores of persons, 
should continue, in spite of their unpopularity, to rule the 
affairs of Britain ? Whether they should cast all loose by dis- 
solving themselves, and issuing writs to convoke a new Parlia- 
ment, the composition of which no one could answer for, any 
more than for the measures they might take when assembled ? 
Or lastly, Whether Cromwell, as actually happened, was not to 
throw the sword into the balance, and boldly possess himself of 
that power which the remnant of the Parliament were unable 
to hold, and yet afraid to resign ? 

Such being the state of parties, the Council of State, in 



I TO 



WOODSTOCK 



distributing the good things in their gift, endeavoured to soothe 
and gratify the army, as a beggar flings crusts to a growling 
mastiff. In this view Desborough had been created a Commis- 
sioner in the Woodstock matter to gratify Cromwell, Harrison 
to soothe the fierce Fifth-Monarchy men, and Bletson as a 
sincere republican, and one of their own leaven. 

But if they supposed Bletson had the least intention of 
becoming a martyr to his republicanism, or submitting to any 
serious loss on account of it, they much mistook the man. He 
entertained their principles sincerely, and not the less that they 
were found impracticable ; for the miscarriage of his experi- 
ment no more converts the political speculator, than the explo- 
sion of a retort undeceives an alchymist. But Bletson was 
quite prepared to submit to Cromwell, or any one else who 
might be possessed of the actual authority. He was a ready 
subject in practice to the powers existing, and made little 
difference betwixt various kinds of government, holding in 
theory all to be nearly equal in imperfection, so soon as they 
diverged from the model of Harrington's Oceana. Cromwell 
had already been tampering with him, like wax between his 
finger and thumb, and which he was ready shortly to seal 
with, smiling at the same time to himself when he beheld the 
Council of State giving rewards to Bletson, as their faithful 
adherent, while he himself was secure of his allegiance, how 
soon soever the expected change of government should take 
place. 

But Bletson was still more attached to his metaphysical than 
his political creed, and carried his doctrines of the perfectibility 
of mankind as far as he did those respecting the conceivable 
perfection of a model of government ; and as in the one case 
he declared against all power which did not emanate from the 
people themselves, so, in his moral speculations, he was un- 
willing to refer any of the phenomena of nature to a final 
cause. When pushed, indeed, very hard, Bletson was com- 
pelled to mutter some inarticulate and unintelligible doctrines 
concerning an Animus Mundi, or Creative Power in the works 
of Nature, by which she originally called into existence, and 
still continues to preserve, her works. To this power, he said, 
some of the purest metaphysicians rendered a certain degree of 
homage ; nor was he himself inclined absolutely to censure those, 
who, by the institution of holidays, choral dances, songs, and 
harmless feasts and libations, might be disposed to celebrate 
the great goddess Nature ; at least dancing, singing, feasting, 
and sporting, being comfortable things to both young and old, 
they might as well sport, dance, and feast, in honour of such 
appointed holidays, as under any other pretext. But then this 
moderate show of religion was to be practised under such excep- 



WOODSTOCK 



in 



tions as are admitted by the Highgate oath ; and no one was 
to be compelled to dance, drink, sing, or feast, whose taste did 
not happen to incline them to such divertisements ; nor was 
any one to be obliged to worship the creative power, whether 
under the name of the Animus Mundi, or any other whatsoever. 
The interference of the Deity in the affairs of mankind he 
entirely disowned, having proved to his own satisfaction that 
the idea originated entirely in priestcraft. In short, with the 
shadowy metaphysical exception aforesaid, Mr. Joshua Bletson 
of Darlington, member for Littlefaith, came as near the predica- 
ment of an atheist, as it is perhaps possible for a man to do. 
But we say this with the necessary salvo ; for we have known 
many like Bletson, whose curtains have been shrewdly shaken 
by superstition, though their fears were unsanctioned by any 
religious faith. The devils, we are assured, believe and tremble ; 
but on earth there are many, who, in worse plight than even 
the natural children of perdition, tremble without believing, and 
fear even while they blaspheme. 

It follows, of course, that nothing could be treated with more 
scorn by Mr. Bletson, than the debates about Prelacy and Pres- 
bytery, about Presbytery and Independency, about Quakers and 
Anabaptists, Muggletonians and Brownists, and all the various 
sects with which the Civil War had commenced, and by which 
its dissensions were still continued. "It was," he said, "as if 
beasts of burden should quarrel amongst themselves about the 
fashion of their halters and pack-saddles, instead of embracing 
a favourable opportunity of throwing them aside." Other witty 
and pithy remarks he used to make when time and place suited ; 
for instance, at the club called the Rota, frequented by St. John, 
and established by Harrington, for the free discussion of political 
and religious subjects. 

But when Bletson was out of this academy, or stronghold of 
philosophy, he was very cautious how he carried his contempt 
of the general prejudice in favour of religion and Christianity 
further than an implied objection or a sneer. If he had an 
opportunity of talking in private with an ingenuous and intel- 
ligent youth, he sometimes attempted to make a proselyte, and 
showed much address in bribing the vanity of inexperience, by 
suggesting that a mind like his ought to spurn the prejudices 
impressed upon it in childhood ; and when assuming the latus 
claims of reason, assuring him that such as he, laying aside the 
bulla of juvenile incapacity, as Bletson called it, should proceed 
to examine and decide for himself. It frequently happened, 
that the youth was induced to adopt the doctrines in whole, or 
in part, of the sage who had seen his natural genius, and who 
had urged him to exert it in examining, detecting, and declaring 
for himself ; and thus flattery gave proselytes to infidelity, which 



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could not have been gained by all the powerful eloquence or 
artful sophistry of the infidel. 

These attempts to extend the influence of what was called 
free-thinking and philosophy were carried on, as we have 
hinted, with a caution dictated by the timidity of the philoso- 
pher's disposition. He was conscious his doctrines were sus- 
pected, and his proceedings watched, by the two principal sects 
of Pi'elatists and Presbyterians, who, however inimical to each 
other, were still more hostile to one who was an opponent, not 
only to a church establishment of any kind, but to every denomi- 
nation of Christianity. He found it more easy to shroud himself 
among the Independents, whose demands were for a general 
liberty of conscience, or an unlimited toleration, and whose 
faith, differing in all respects and particulars, was by some 
pushed into such wild errors, as to get totally beyond the 
bounds of every species of Christianity, and approach very near 
to infidelity itself, as extremes of each kind are said to approach 
each other. Bletson mixed a good deal among those sectaries ; 
and such was his confidence in his own logic and address, that he 
is supposed to have entertained hopes of bringing to his opinions 
in time the enthusiastic Vane, as well as the no less enthusiastic 
Harrison, provided he could but get them to resign their visions 
of a Fifth Monarchy, and induce them to be contented with 
a reign of Philosophers in England for the natural period 
of their lives, instead of the reign of the Saints during the 
Millennium. 

Such was the singular group into which Everard was now 
introduced ; showing, in their various opinions, upon how many I 
devious coasts human nature may make shipwreck, when she 
has once let go her hold on the anchor which religion has given 
her to lean upon ; the acute self-conceit and worldly learning 
of Bletson — the rash and ignorant conclusions of the fierce and 
under-bred Harrison, leading them into the opposite extremes 
of enthusiasm and infidelity, while Desborough, constitutionally 
stupid, thought nothing about religion at all ; and while the others 
were active in making sail on different but equally erroneous 
Courses, he might be said to perish like a vessel, which springs ' 
a leak and founders in the roadstead. It was wonderful to I 
behold what a strange variety of mistakes and errors, on the 
part of the King and his Ministers, on the part of the Parliament | 
and their leaders, on the part of the allied kingdoms of Scotland | 
and England towards each other, had combined to rear up men 
of such dangerous opinions and interested characters among the j 
arbiters of the destiny of Britain. 

Those who argue for party's sake, will see all the faults on 
the one side, without deigning to look at those on the other; . 
those who study history for instruction, will perceive that ] 



[ 

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nothing but the want of concession on either side, and the 
deadly height to which the animosity of the King's and Parlia- 
ment's parties had arisen, could have so totally overthrown the 
well-poised balance of the English constitution. But we hasten 
to quit political reflections, the rather that ours, we believe, will 
please neither Whig nor Tory. 



CHAPTER XII 

Three form a College — an you give us four, 
Let him bring his share with him. 

— Beaumont and Fletcher. 

Mr. Bletson arose and paid his respects to Colonel Everard, 
with the ease and courtesy of a gentleman of the time ; 
though on every account grieved at his intrusion, as a religious 
man who held his free-thinking principles in detestation, and 
would effectually prevent his conversion of Harrison, and even 
of Desborough, if anything could be moulded out of such a 
clod, to the worship of the Animus Mundi. Moreover, Bletson 
knew Everard to be a man of steady probity, and by no means 
disposed to close with a scheme on which he had successfully 
sounded the other two, and which was calculated to assure the 
Commissioners of some little private indemnification for the 
trouble they were to give themselves in the public business. 
The philosopher was yet less pleased, when he saw the magis- 
trate and the pastor who had met him in his flight of the pre- 
ceding evening, when he had been seen, parma non bene relicta, 
with cloak and doublet left behind him. 

The presence of Colonel Everard was as unpleasing to Des- 
borough as to Bletson; but the former having no philosophy 
in him, nor an idea that it was possible for any man to resist 
helping himself out of untold money, was chiefly embarrassed 
by the thought, that the plunder which they might be able to 
achieve out of their trust, might, by this unwelcome addition 
to their number, be divided into four parts instead of three ; 
and this reflection added to the natural awkwardness with 
which he grumbled forth a sort of welcome, addressed to 
Everard. 

As for Harrison, he remained like one on higher thoughts 
intent ; his posture unmoved, his eyes fixed on the ceiling as 
before, and in no way indicating the least consciousness that 
the company had been more than doubled around him. 

Meantime, Everard took his place at the table, as a man 
who assumed his own right, and pointed to his companions to 

a 



H4 WOODSTOCK 

sit down nearer the foot of the board. Wildrake so far mis- 
understood his signals, as to sit down above the Mayor; but 
rallying his recollection at a look from his patron, he rose 
and took his place lower, whistling, however, as he went, a 
sound at which the company stared, as at a freedom highly 
unbecoming. To complete his indecorum, he seized upon a 
pipe, and filling it from a large tobacco-box, was soon im- 
mersed in a cloud of his own raising; from which a hand 
shortly after emerged, seized on the black-jack of ale, with- 
drew it within the vapoury sanctuary, and, after a potential 
draught, replaced it upon the table, its owner beginning to 
renew the cloud which his intermitted exercise of the tube 
had almost allowed to subside. 

Nobody made any observation on his conduct, out of respect, 
probably, to Colonel Everard, who bit his lip, but continued 
silent ; aware that censure might extract some escapade more 
unequivocally characteristic of a cavalier, from his refractory 
companion. As silence seemed awkward, and the others made 
no advances to break it, beyond the ordinary salutation, Colonel 
Everard at length said, " I presume, gentlemen, that you are 
somewhat surprised at my arrival here, and thus intruding 
myself into your meeting ? " 

" Why the dickens should we be surprised, Colonel ? " said 
Desborough ; " we know his Excellency, my brother-in-law 
Noll's — I mean my Lord Cromwell's way, of overquartering 
his men in the towns he marches through. Thou hast obtained 
a share in our commission ? " 

"And in that/' said Bletson, smiling and bowing, "the 
Lord-General has given us the most acceptable colleague that 
could have been added to our number. No doubt your 
authority for joining with us must be under warrant of the 
Council of State ? " 

" Of that, gentlemen," said the Colonel, " I will presently 
advise you." — He took out his warrant accordingly, and was 
about to communicate the contents ; but observing that there 
were three or four half-empty flasks upon the table, that Des- 
borough looked more stupid than usual, and that the philo- 
sopher's eyes were reeling in his head, notwithstanding the 
temperance of Bletson's usual habits, he concluded that they 
had been fortifying themselves against the horrors of the 
haunted mansion, by laying in a store of what is called Dutch 
courage, and therefore prudently resolved to postpone his more 
important business with them till the cooler hour of morning. 
He, therefore, instead of presenting the General's warrant 
superseding their commission, contented himself with replying, 
— "My business has, of course, some reference to your pro- 
ceedings here. But here is — excuse my curiosity — a reverend 



WOODSTOCK 



gentleman/' pointing to Holdenough, " who has told me that 
you are so strangely embarrassed here, as to require both the 
civil and spiritual authority to enable you to keep possession of 
Woodstock." 

" Before we go into that matter/' said Bletson, blushing up 
to the eyes at the recollection of his own fears, so manifestly 
displayed, yet so inconsistent with his principles, " I should 
like to know who this other stranger is, who has come with the 
worthy magistrate, and the no less worthy Presbyterian ? " 

" Meaning me ? " said Wildrake, laying his pipe aside ; 
"Gadzooks, the time hath been that I could have answered 
the question with a better title ; but at present I am only his 
honour's poor clerk, or secretary, whichever is the current 
phrase." 

"'Fore George, my lively blade, thou art a frank fellow of thy 
tattle," said Desborough. "There is my secretary Tomkins, 
whom men sillily enough call Fibbet, and the honourable 
Lieutenant-General Harrison's secretary Bibbet, who are now 
at supper below stairs, that durst not for their ears speak a 
phrase above their breath in the presence of their betters, unless 
to answer a question." 

"Yes, Colonel Everard," said the philosopher, with his quiet 
smile, glad, apparently, to divert the conversation from the 
topic of last night's alarm, and recollections which humbled his 
self-love and self-satisfaction, — " yes ; and when Master Fibbet 
and Master Bibbet do speak, their affirmations are as much in 
a common mould of mutual attestation, as their names would 
accord in the verses of a poet. If Master Fibbet happens to 
tell a fiction, Master Bibbet swears it as truth. If Master 
Bibbet chances to have gotten drunk in the fear of the Lord, 
Master Fibbet swears he is sober. I have called my own 
secretary Gibbet, though his name chances to be only Gibeon, 
a worthy Israelite at your service, but as pure a youth as ever 
picked a lamb-bone at Paschal. But I call him Gibbet, merely 
to make up the holy trefoil with another rhyme. This squire 
of thine, Colonel Everard, looks as if he might be worthy to be 
coupled with the rest of the fraternity." 

" Not I, truly," said the cavalier ; " I'll be coupled with no 
Jew that was ever whelped, and no Jewess neither." 

" Scorn not for that, young man," said the philospher ; " the 
Jews are, in point of religion, the elder brethren, you know." 

"The Jews older than the Christians?" said Desborough, 
" 'fore George, they will have thee before the General Assembly, 
Bletson, if thou venturest to say so." 

Wildrake laughed 'without ceremony at the gross ignorance 
of Desborough, and was joined by a sniggling response from 
behind the cupboard, which, when inquired into, proved to be 



Ii6 



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produced by the serving-men. These worthies, timorous as 
their betters, when they were supposed to have left the room, 
had only withdrawn to their present place of concealment. 

" How now, ye rogues," said Bletson angrily ; " do you not 
know your duty better ? " 

" We beg your worthy honour's pardon," said one of the men, 
"but we dared not go downstairs without a light." 

" A light, ye cowardly poltroons ? " said the philosopher ; 
" what — to show which of you looks palest when a rat squeaks ? 
—but take a candlestick and begone, you cowardly villains ! the 
devils you are so much afraid of must be but paltry kites, if they 
hawk at such bats as you are." 

The servants, without replying, took up one of the candle- 
sticks, and prepared to retreat, Trusty Tomkins at the head of 
the troop, when suddenly, as they arrived at the door of the 
parlour, which had been left half open, it was shut violently. 
The three terrified domestics tumbled back into the middle of 
the room, as if a shot had been discharged in their face, and 
all who were at the table started to their feet. 

Colonel Everard was incapable of a moment's fear, even if 
anything frightful had been seen ; but he remained stationary, 
to see what his companions would do, and to get at the bottom, 
if possible, of the cause of their alarm upon an occasion so 
trifling. The philosopher seemed to think that he was the person 
chiefly concerned to show manhood on the occasion. 

He walked to the door accordingly, murmuring at the 
cowardice of the servants; but at such a snail's pace, that it 
seemed he would most willingly have been anticipated by any 
one whom his reproaches had roused to exertion. "Cowardly 
blockheads ! " he said at last, seizing hold of the handle of the 
door, but without turning it effectually round — "dare you not 
open a door?" — (still fumbling with the lock) — "dare you 
not go down a staircase without a light ? Here, bring me 
the candle, you cowardly villains ! — By Heaven, something 
sighs on the outside ! " 

As he spoke, he let go the handle of the parlour door, and 
stepped back a pace or two into the apartment, with cheeks as 
pale as the band he wore. 

" Deus adjutor meus ! " said the Presbyterian clergyman, rising 
from his seat. "Give place, sir," addressing Bletson; "it 
would seem I know more of this matter than thou, and I bless 
Heaven I am armed for the conflict." 

Bold as a grenadier about to mount a breach, yet with the 
same belief in the existence of a great danger to be encountered, 
as well as the same reliance in the goodness of his cause, the 
worthy man stepped before the philosophical Bletson, and 
taking a light from a sconce in one hand, quietly opened the 



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117 



door with the other, and standing in the threshold, said, " Here 
is nothing ! " 

u And who expected to see anything," said Bletson, " except- 
ing those terrified oafs, who take fright at every puff of wind 
that whistles through the passages of this old dungeon ? " 

" Mark you, Master Tomkins," said one of the waiting-men 
in a whisper to the steward, — "See how boldly the minister 
pressed forward before all of them. Ah ! Mr. Tomkins, our 
parson is the real commissioned officer of the church — your 
lay-preachers are no better than a parcel of club-men and 
volunteers." 

" Follow me, those who list," said Master Holdenough, " or go 
before me those who choose, I will walk through the habitable 
places of this house before I leave it, and satisfy myself whether 
Satan hath really mingled himself among these dreary dens of 
ancient wickedness, or whether, like the wicked of whom holy 
David speaketh, we are afraid, and flee when no one pursueth." 

Harrison, who had heard these words, sprung from his seat, 
and drawing his sword, exclaimed, " Were there as many fiends 
in the house as there are hairs on my head, upon this cause I 
will charge them up ta their very trenches ! " 

So saying, he brandished his weapon, and pressed to the 
head of the column, where he moved side by side with the 
minister. The Mayor of Woodstock next joined the body, 
thinking himself safer perhaps in the company of his pastor ; 
and the whole train moved forward in close order, accompanied 
by the servants bearing lights, to search the Lodge for some 
cause of that panic with which they seemed to be suddenly 
seized. 

"Nay, take me with you, my friends," said Colonel Everard, 
who had looked on in surprise, and was now about to follow 
the party, when Bletson laid hold on his cloak, and begged him 
to remain. 

"You see, my good Colonel," he said, affecting a courage 
which his shaking voice belied, " here are only you and I and 
honest Desborough left behind in garrison, while all the others 
are absent on a sally. We must not hazard the whole troops in 
one sortie — that were unmilitary — Ha, ha, ha ! " 

" In the name of Heaven, what means all this ? " said Everard. 
"I heard a foolish tale about apparitions as I came this way, 
and now I find you all half mad with fear, and cannot get a 
word of sense among so many of you. Fie, Colonel Desborough 
— fie, Master Bletson — try to compose yourselves, and let me 
know in Heaven's name, the cause of all this disturbance. One 
would be apt to think your brains were turned." 

"And so mine well may," said Desborough, "ay, and over- 
turned too, since my bed last night was turned upside down, 



n8 WOODSTOCK 

and I was placed for ten minutes heels uppermost, and head 
downmost, like a bullock going to be shod." 

"What means this nonsense, Master Bletson? — Desborough 
must have had the nightmare." 

" No, faith, Colonel ; the goblins, or whatever else they were, 
had been favourable to honest Desborough, for they reposed the 
whole of his person on that part of his body which — Hark, did 
you not hear something ? — is the central point of gravity, namely, 
his head." 

" Did you see anything to alarm you ? " said the Colonel. 

" Nothing," said Bletson ; " but we heard hellish noises, as 
all our people did ; and I, believing little of ghosts and appa- 
ritions, concluded the cavaliers were taking us at advantage ; 
so, remembering Rainsborough's fate, I e'en jumped the window, 
and ran to Woodstock, to call the soldiers to the rescue of 
Harrison and Desborough." 

" And did you not first go to see what the danger was ? " 

" Ah, my good friend, you forget that I laid down my com- 
mission at the time of the self-denying ordinance. It would 
have been quite inconsistent with my duty as a Parliament-man 
to be brawling amidst a set of ruffians, without any military 
authority. No — when the Parliament commanded me to 
sheathe my sword, Colonel, I have too much veneration for 
their authority to be found again with it drawn in my hand." 

"But the Parliament," said Desborough hastily, "did not 
command you to use your heels when your hands could have 
saved a man from choking. Odds dickens ! you might have 
stopped when you saw my bed canted heels uppermost, and me 
half stifled in the bed-clothes — you might, I say, have stopped 
and lent a hand to put it to rights, instead of jumping out of 
the window, like a new-shorn sheep, so soon as you had run 
across my room." 

"Nay, worshipful Master Desborough," said Bletson, wink- 
ing on Everard, to show that he was playing on his thick- 
skulled colleague, "how could I tell your particular mode of 
reposing? — there are many tastes — I have known men who 
slept by choice on a slope or angle of forty-five." 

" Yes, but did ever a man sleep standing on his head, except 
by miracle ? " said Desborough. 

" Now, as to miracles " — said the philosopher, confident in 
the presence of Everard, besides that an opportunity of scoffing 
at religion really in some degree diverted his fear — "I leave 
these out of the question, seeing that the evidence on such sub- 
jects seems as little qualified to carry conviction as a horse-hair 
to land a leviathan." 

A loud clap of thunder, or a noise as formidable, rang 
through the Lodge as the scoffer had ended, which struck him 



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119 



pale and motionless, and made Desborough throw himself on 
his knees, and repeat exclamations and prayers in much 
admired confusion. 

" There must be contrivance here," exclaimed Everard ; and 
snatching one of the candles from a sconce, he rushed out of 
the apartment, little heeding the entreaties of the philosopher, 
who, in the extremity of his distress, conjured him by the 
Animus Mundi to remain to the assistance of a distressed philo- 
sopher endangered by witches, and a Parliament-man assaulted 
by ruffians. As for Desborough, he only gaped like a clown in 
a pantomime ; and, doubtful whether to follow or stop, his 
natural indolence prevailed, and he sat still. 

When on the landing-place of the stairs, Everard paused a 
moment to consider which was the best course to take. He 
heard the voices of men talking fast and loud, like people who 
wish to drown their fears, in the lower story ; and aware that 
nothing could be discovered by those whose inquiries were con- 
ducted in a manner so noisy, he resolved to proceed in a 
different direction, and examine the second floor, which he had 
now gained. 

He had known every corner, both of the inhabited and 
uninhabited part of the mansion, and availed himself of the 
candle to traverse two or three intricate passages, which he was 
afraid he might not remember with sufficient accuracy. This 
movement conveyed him to a sort of ceil-de-bceuf, an octagon 
vestibule, or small hall, from which various rooms opened. 
Amongst these doors, Everard selected that which led to a very 
long, narrow, and dilapidated gallery, built in the time of 
Henry VIII., and which, running along the whole south-west 
side of the building, communicated at different points with the 
rest of the mansion. This he thought was likely to be the post 
occupied by those who proposed to act the sprites upon the 
occasion ; especially as its length and shape gave him some 
idea that it was a spot where the bold thunder might in many 
ways be imitated. 

Determined to ascertain the truth, if possible, he placed his 
light on a table in the vestibule, and applied himself to open 
the door into the gallery. At this point he found himself 
strongly opposed either by a bolt drawn, or, as he rather con- 
ceived, by somebody from within resisting his attempt. He was 
induced to believe the latter, because the resistance slackened 
and was renewed, like that of human strength, instead of pre- 
senting the permanent opposition of an inanimate obstacle. 
Though Everard was a strong and active young man, he ex- 
hausted his strength in the vain attempt to open the door; 
and having paused to take breath, was about to renew his 
efforts with foot and shoulder, and to call at the same time for 



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assistance, when to his surprise, on again attempting the door 
more gently, in order to ascertain if possible where the strength 
of the opposing obstacle was situated, he found it gave way to a 
very slight impulse, some impediment fell broken to the ground, 
and the door flew wide open. The gust of wind occasioned 
by the sudden opening of the door, blew out the candle, and 
Everard was left in darkness, save where the moonshine, which 
the long side-row of latticed windows dimmed, could im- 
perfectly force its way into the gallery, which lay in ghostly 
length before him. 

The melancholy and doubtful twilight was increased by a 
quantity of creeping plants on the outside, which, since all had 
been neglected in these ancient halls, now completely over- 
grown, had in some instances greatly diminished, and in others 
almost quite choked up, the space of the lattices, extending 
between the heavy stone shaftwork which divided the windows, 
both lengthways and across. On the other side there were no 
windows at all, and the gallery had been once hung round with 
paintings, chiefly portraits, by which that side of the apartment 
had been adorned. Most of the pictures had been removed, 
yet the empty frames of some, and the tattered remnants of 
others, were still visible along the extent of the waste gallery ; 
the look of which was so desolate, and it appeared so well 
adapted for mischief, supposing there were enemies near him, 
that Everard could not help pausing at the entrance, and 
recommending himself to God, ere, drawing his sword, he 
advanced into the apartment, treading as lightly as possible, 
and keeping in the shadow as much as he could. 

Markham Everard was by no means superstitious, but he 
had the usual credulity of the times ; and though he did not 
yield easily to tales of supernatural visitations, yet he could 
not help thinking he was in the very situation, where, if such 
things were ever permitted, they might be expected to take 
place, while his own stealthy and ill-assured pace, his drawn 
weapon, and extended arms, being the very attitude and 
action of doubt and suspicion, tended to increase in his 
mind the gloomy feelings of which they are the usual indica- 
tions, and with which they are constantly associated. Under 
such unpleasant impressions, and conscious of the neighbour- 
hood of something unfriendly, Colonel Everard had already 
advanced about half along the gallery, when he heard some 
one sigh very near him, and a low soft voice pronounce his 
name. 

" Here I am," he replied, while his heart beat thick and 
short. " Who calls on Markham Everard ? " 
Another sigh was the only answer. 

(t Speak," said the Colonel, " whoever or whatsoever you are, 



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and tell with what intent and purpose you are lurking in these 
apartments ? " 

" With a better intent than yours/' returned the soft voice. 

" Than mine ! " answered Everard in great surprise. " Who 
are you that dare judge of my intents ? " 

" What, or ' who are you, Markham Everard, who wander by 
moonlight through these deserted halls of royalty, where none 
should be but those who mourn their downfall, or are sworn to 
avenge it ? " 

f It is — and yet it cannot be," said Everard ; u yet it is, and 
must be. Alice Lee, the devil or you speaks. Answer me, I 
conjure you ! — speak openly — on what dangerous scheme are 
you engaged ? where is your father ? why are you here ? — 
wherefore do you run so deadly a venture ? — Speak, I conjure 
you, Alice Lee ! " 

" She whom you call on is at the distance of miles from this 
spot. What if her Genius speaks when she is absent ? — what 
if the soul of an ancestress of hers and yours were now address- 
ing you ? — what if " 

"Nay," answered Everard, "but what if the dearest of 
human beings has caught a touch of her father's enthusiasm ? 
— what if she is exposing her person to danger, her reputation 
to scandal, by traversing in disguise and darkness a house filled 
with armed men ? Speak to me, my fair cousin, in your own 
person. I am furnished with powers to protect my uncle, Sir 
Henry — to protect you too, dearest Alice, even against the con- 
sequences of this visionary and wild attempt. Speak — I see 
where you are, and, with all my respect, I cannot submit to be 
thus practised upon. Trust me — trust your cousin Markham 
with your hand, and believe that he will die or place you in 
honourable safety." 

As he spoke, he exercised his eyes as keenly as possible to 
detect where the speaker stood; and it seemed to him, that 
about three yards from him there was a shadowy form, of which 
he could not discern even the outline, placed as it was within the 
deep and prolonged shadow thrown by a space of wall interven- 
ing betwixt two windows, upon that side of the room from 
which the light was admitted. He endeavoured to calculate, 
as well as he could, the distance betwixt himself and the object 
which he watched, under the impression, that if, by even using 
a slight degree of compulsion, he could detach his beloved 
Alice from the confederacy into which he supposed her father's 
zeal for the cause of royalty had engaged her, he would be 
rendering them both the most essential favour. He could not 
indeed but conclude, that however successfully the plot which 
he conceived to be in agitation had proceeded against the timid 
Bletson, the stupid Desborough, and the crazy Harrison, there 



122 



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was little doubt that at length their artifices must necessarily 
bring shame and danger on those engaged in it. 

It must also be remembered, that Everard's affection to his 
cousin, although of the most respectful and devoted character, 
partook less of the distant veneration which a lover of those 
days entertained for the lady whom he worshipped with humble 
diffidence, than of the fond and familiar feelings which a brother 
entertains towards a younger sister, whom he thinks himself 
entitled to guide, advise, and even in some degree to control. 
So kindly and intimate had been their intercourse, that he had 
little more hesitation in endeavouring to arrest her progress in 
the dangerous course in which she seemed to be engaged, even 
at the risk of giving her momentary offence, than he would 
have had in snatching her from a torrent or conflagration, at the 
chance of hurting her by the violence of his grasp. All this 
passed through his mind in the course of a single minute ; and 
he resolved at all events to detain her on the spot, and compel, 
if possible, an explanation from her. 

With this purpose, Everard again conjured his cousin, in the 
name of Heaven, to give up this idle and dangerous mummery ; 
and lending an accurate ear to her answer, endeavoured from 
the sound to calculate as nearly as possible the distance between 
them. 

" I am not she for whom you take me," said the voice ; " and 
dearer regards than aught connected with her life or death, bid 
me warn you to keep aloof, and leave this place." 

" Not till I have convinced you of your childish folly," said 
the Colonel, springing forward, and endeavouring to catch hold 
of her who spoke to him. But no female form was within his 
grasp. On the contrary, he was met by a shock which could 
come from no woman's arm, and which was rude enough to 
stretch him on his back on the floor. At the same time he 
felt the point of a sword at his throat, and his hands so com- 
pletely mastered, that not the slightest defence remained to 
him. 

" A cry for assistance," said a voice near him, but not that 
which he had hitherto heard, " will be stifled in your blood ! — 
No harm is meant you — be wise and be silent." 

The fear of death, which Everard had often braved in the 
field of battle, became more intense as he felt himself in the 
hands of unknown assassins, and totally devoid of all means of 
defence. The sharp point of the sword pricked his bare throat, 
and the foot of him who held it was upon his breast. He felt 
as if a single thrust would put an end to life, and all the feverish 
joys and sorrows which agitate us so strangely, and from which 
we are yet so reluctant to part. Large drops of perspiration 
stood upon his forehead — his heart throbbed, as if it would 



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burst from its confinement in the bosom — he experienced the 
agony which fear imposes on the brave man, acute in propor- 
tion to that which pain inflicts when it subdues the robust and 
healthy. 

"Cousin Alice/' — he attempted to speak, and the sword's 
point pressed his throat yet more closely, — " Cousin, let me not 
be murdered in a manner so fearful ! " 

" I tell you," replied the voice, " that you speak to one who 
is not here ; but your life is not aimed at, provided you swear 
on your faith as a Christian, and your honour as a gentleman, 
that you will conceal what has happened, whether from the 
people below, or from any other person. On this condition you 
may rise ; and if you seek her, you will find Alice Lee at 
Joceline's cottage in the forest." 

u Since I may not help myself otherwise," said Everard, " I 
swear, as I have a sense of religion and honour, I will say 
nothing of this violence, nor make any search after those who 
are concerned in it." 

"For that we care nothing," said the voice. "Thou hast an 
example how well thou mayst catch mischief on thy own part ; 
but we are in case to defy thee. Rise, and begone ! " 

The foot, the sword's-point, were withdrawn, and Everard 
was about to start up hastily, when the voice, in the same 
softness of tone which distinguished it at first, said, " No haste 
— cold and bare steel is yet around thee. Now — now — now — 
[the words dying away as at a distance] — thou art free. Be 
secret and be safe." 

Markham Everard arose, and, in rising embarrassed his feet 
with his own sword, which he had dropped when springing 
forward, as he supposed, to lay hold of his fair cousin. He 
snatched it up in haste, and as his hand clasped the hilt, his 
courage, which had given way under the apprehension of 
instant death, began to return ; he considered, with almost his 
usual composure, what was to be done next. Deeply affronted 
at the disgrace which he had sustained, he questioned for an 
instant whether he ought to keep his extorted promise, or 
should not rather summon assistance, and make haste to dis- 
cover and seize those who had been recently engaged in such 
violence on his person. But these persons, be they who they 
would, had had his life in their power — he had pledged his 
word in ransom of it — and what was more, he could not divest 
himself of the idea that his beloved Alice was a confidant, at 
least, if not an actor, in the confederacy which had thus baffled 
him. This prepossession determined his conduct ; for, though 
angry at supposing she must have been accessory to his personal 
ill-treatment, he could not in any event think of an instant 
search through the mansion, which might have compromised 



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her safety, or that of his uncle. " But I will to the hut/' he 
said — " I will instantly to the hut, ascertain her share in this 
wild and dangerous confederacy, and snatch her from ruin, if it 
be possible." 

As, under the influence of the resolution which he had 
formed, Everard groped his way through the gallery and re- 
gained the vestibule, he heard his name called by the well- 
known voice of Wildrake. "What — ho! — holla! — Colonel 
Everard — Mark Everard — it is dark as the devil's mouth — 
speak — where are you ? — The witches are keeping their hellish 
sabbath here, as I think — Where are you ? " 

" Here, here ! " answered Everard. " Cease your bawling. 
Turn to the left, and you will meet me." 

Guided by his voice, Wildrake soon appeared, with a light 
in one hand, and his drawn sword in the other. et Where have 
you been ? " he said — " What has detained you ? — Here are 
Bletson and the brute Desborough terrified out of their lives, 
and Harrison raving mad, because the devil will not be civil 
enough to rise to fight him in single duello." 

"Saw or heard you nothing as you came along?" said 
Everard. 

"Nothing," said his friend, "excepting that when I first 
entered this cursed ruinous labyrinth, the light was struck out 
of my hand, as if by a switch, which obliged me to return for 
another." 

" I must come by a horse instantly, Wildrake, and another 
for thyself, if it be possible." 

"We can take two of those belonging to the troopers," 
answered Wildrake. " But for what purpose should we run 
away, like rats, at this time in the evening ? — Is the house 
falling ? " 

" I cannot answer you," said the Colonel, pushing forward 
into a room where there were some remains of furniture. 

Here the cavalier took a more strict view of his person, 
and exclaimed in wonder, " What the devil have you been fight- 
ing with, Markham, that has bedizened you after this sorry 
fashion ? " 

" Fighting ! " exclaimed Everard. 

" Yes," replied his trusty attendant, " I say fighting. Look 
at yourself in the mirror." 

He did, and saw he was covered with dust and blood. The 
latter proceeded from a scratch which he had received in the 
throat, as he struggled to extricate himself. With unaffected 
alarm, Wildrake undid his friend's collar, and with eager haste 
proceeded to examine the wound, his hands trembling, and his 
eyes glistening with apprehension for his benefactor's life. 
When, in spite of Everard's opposition, he had examined the 



WOODSTOCK 125 

hurt, and found it trifling, he resumed the natural wildness of 
his character, perhaps the more readily that he had felt shame 
in departing from it, into one which expressed more of feeling 
than he would be thought to possess. 

" If that be the devil's work, Mark," said he, "the foul fiend's 
claws are not nigh so formidable as they are represented; but 
no one shall say that your blood has been shed unrevenged, 
while Roger Wildrake was by your side. Where left you this 
same imp ? I will back to the field of fight, confront him with 
my rapier, and were his nails tenpenny nails, and his teeth as 
long as those of a harrow, he shall render me reason for the 
injury he has done you." 

"Madness — madness!" exclaimed Everard ; "I had this 
trifling hurt by a fall — a basin and towel will wipe it away. 
Meanwhile, if you will ever do me kindness, get the troop- 
horses — command them for the service of the public, in the 
name of his Excellency the General. I will but wash, and join 
you in an instant before the gate." 

"Well, I will serve you, Everard, as a mute serves the Grand 
Signior, without knowing why or wherefore. But will you go 
without seeing these people below ? " 

" Without seeing any one," said Everard ; " lose no time, for 
God's sake." 

He found out the non-commissioned officer, and demanded 
the horses in a tone of authority, to which the corporal yielded 
undisputed obedience, as one well aware of Colonel Everard's mili- 
tary rank and consequence. So all was in a minute or two ready 
for the expedition. 



CHAPTER XIII 

She kneel'd, and saintlike 
Cast her eyes to heaven, and pray'd devoutly. 

—King Henry VIII. 

Colonel Everard's departure at the late hour, for so it was then 
thought, of seven in the evening, excited much speculation. 
There was a gathering of menials and dependents in the outer 
chamber or hall, for no one doubted that his sudden departure 
was owing to his having, as they expressed it, "seen something," 
and all desired to know how a man of such acknowledged 
courage as Everard, looked under the awe of a recent appari- 
tion. But he gave them no time to make comments ; for, 
striding through the hall wrapped in his riding suit, he threw 
himself on horseback, and rode furiously through the Chase, 
towards the hut of the keeper Joliffe. 



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It was the disposition of Markham Everard to be hot, keen, 
earnest, impatient, and decisive to a degree of precipitation. 
The acquired habits which education had taught, and which the 
strong moral and religious discipline of his sect had greatly 
strengthened, were such as to enable him to conceal, as well as 
to check, this constitutional violence, and to place him upon 
his guard against indulging it. But when in the high tide of 
violent excitation, the natural impetuosity of the young soldier's 
temper was sometimes apt to overcome these artificial obstacles, 
and then, like a torrent foaming over a wear, it became more 
furious, as if in revenge for the constrained calm which it had 
been for some time obliged to assume. In these instances he 
was accustomed to see only that point to which his thoughts 
were bent, and to move straight towards it, whether a moral 
object, or the storming of a breach, without either calculating, 
or even appearing to see, the difficulties which were before him. 

At present, his ruling and impelling motive was to detach 
his beloved cousin, if possible, from the dangerous and dis- 
creditable machinations in which he suspected her to have 
engaged, or, on the other hand, to discover that she really had 
no concern with these stratagems. He should know how to judge 
of that in some measure, he thought, by finding her present 
or absent at the hut, towards which he was now galloping. He 
had read, indeed, in some ballad or minstrel's tale, of a singular 
deception practised on a jealous old man, by means of a sub- 
terranean communication between his house and that of a 
neighbour, which the lady in question made use of to present 
herself in the two places alternately, with such speed, and so 
much address, that, after repeated experiments, the dotard was 
deceived into the opinion, that his wife, and the lady who 
was so very like her, and to whom his neighbour paid so much 
attention, were two different persons. But in the present case 
there was no room for such a deception ; the distance was too 
great, and as he took by much the nearest way from the castle, 
and rode full speed, it would be impossible, he knew, for his 
cousin, who was a timorous horsewoman, even by daylight, to 
have got home before him. 

Her father might indeed be displeased at his interference ; 
but what title had he to be so ? — Was not Alice Lee the near 
relation of his blood, the dearest object of his heart, and would 
he now abstain from an effort to save her from the conse- 
quences of a silly and wild conspiracy, because the old knight's 
spleen might be awakened by Everard's making his appearance 
at their present dwelling contrary to his commands ? No. 
He would endure the old man's harsh language, as he endured 
the blast of the autumn wind, which was howling around 
him, and swinging the crashing branches of the trees under 



WOODSTOCK 



127 



which he passed, but could not oppose, or even retard, his 
journey. 

If he found not Alice, as he had reason to believe she would 
be absent, to Sir Henry Lee himself he would explain what he 
had witnessed. However she might have become accessory to 
the juggling tricks performed at Woodstock, he could not but 
think it was without her father's knowledge, so severe a judge 
was the old knight of female propriety, and so strict an assertor 
of female decorum. He would take the same opportunity, he 
thought, of stating to him the well-grounded hopes he enter- 
tained, that his dwelling at the Lodge might be prolonged, 
and the sequestrators removed from the royal mansion and 
domains, by other means than those of the absurd species of 
intimidation which seemed to be resorted to, to scare them from 
thence. 

All this seemed to be so much within the line of his duty as 
a relative, that it was not until he halted at the door of the 
ranger's hut, and threw his bridle into Wildrake's hand, that 
Everard recollected the fiery, high, and unbending character 
of Sir Henry Lee, and felt, even when his fingers were on the 
latch, a reluctance to intrude himself upon the presence of the 
irritable old knight. 

But there was no time for hesitation. Bevis, who had already 
bayed more than once from within the Lodge, was growing 
impatient, and Everard had but just time to bid Wildrake hold 
the horses until he should send Joceline to his assistance, when 
old Joan unpinned the door, to demand who was without at 
that time of the night. To have attempted anything like an 
explanation with poor dame Joan, would have been quite 
hopeless ; the Colonel, therefore, put her gently aside, and 
shaking himself loose from the hold she had laid on his cloak, 
entered the kitchen of Joceline's dwelling. Bevis, who had 
advanced to support Joan in her opposition, humbled his lion- 
port, with that wonderful instinct which makes his race re- 
member so long those with whom they have been familiar, and 
acknowledged his master's relative, by doing homage in his 
fashion, with his head and tail. 

Colonel Everard, more uncertain in his purpose every moment 
as the necessity of its execution drew near, stole over the 
floor like one who treads in a sick chamber, and opening the 
door of the interior apartment with a slow and trembling hand, 
as he would have withdrawn the curtains of a dying friend, he 
saw, within, the scene which we are about to describe. 

Sir Henry Lee sat in a wicker arm-chair by the fire. He was 
wrapped in a cloak, and his limbs extended on a stool, as if he 
were suffering from gout or indisposition. His long white beard 
flowing over the dark-coloured garment, gave him more the 



128 



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appearance of a hermit than of an aged soldier or man of 
quality ; and that character was increased by the deep and 
devout attention with which he listened to a respectable old 
man, whose dilapidated dress showed still something of the 
clerical habit, and who, with a low, but full and deep voice, 
was reading the Evening Service according to the Church of 
England. Alice Lee kneeled at the feet of her father, and 
made the responses with a voice that might have suited the 
choir of angels; and a modest and serious devotion, which 
suited the melody of her tone. The face of the officiating 
clergyman would have been good-looking, had it not been 
disfigured with a black patch which covered the left eye and a 
part of his face, and had not the features which were visible 
been marked with the traces of care and suffering. 

When Colonel Everard entered, the clergyman raised his 
finger, as cautioning him to forbear disturbing the divine service 
of the evening, and pointed to a seat ; to which, struck deeply 
with the scene he had witnessed, the intruder stole with as light 
a step as possible, and knelt devoutly down as one of the little 
congregation. 

Everard had been bred by his father what was called a 
Puritan ; a member of a sect who, in the primitive sense of the 
word, were persons that did not except against the doctrines of 
the Church of England, or even in all respects against its 
hierarchy, but chiefly dissented from it on the subject of certain 
ceremonies, habits, and forms of ritual, which were insisted upon 
by the celebrated and unfortunate Laud with ill-timed tenacity. 
But even if, from the habits of his father's house, Everard's 
opinions had been diametrically opposed to the doctrines of the 
English Church, he must have been reconciled to them by the 
regularity with which the service was performed in his uncle's 
family at Woodstock, who, during the blossom of his fortunes, 
generally had a chaplain residing in the Lodge for that special 
purpose. 

Yet deep as was the habitual veneration with which he heard 
the impressive service of the Church, Everard's eyes could not 
help straying towards Alice, and his thoughts wandering to the 
purpose of his presence there. She seemed to have recognised 
him at once, for there was a deeper glow than usual upon her 
cheek, her fingers trembled as they turned the leaves of her 
prayer-book, and her voice, lately as firm as it was melodious, 
faltered when she repeated the responses. It appeared to 
Everard, as far as he could collect by the stolen glances which 
he directed towards her, that the character of her beauty, as 
well as of her outward appearance, had changed with her 
fortune*. 

The beautiful and high-born young lady had now approached 



WOODSTOCK 129 

as nearly as possible to the brown stuff dress of an ordinary 
village maiden ; but what she had lost in gaiety of appearance, 
she had gained as it seemed in dignity. Her beautiful light- 
brown tresses, now folded around her head, and only curled 
where nature had so arranged them, gave her an air of simpli- 
city, which did not exist when her head-dress showed the skill 
of a curious tire-woman. A light joyous air, with something 
of a humorous expression, which seemed to be looking for 
amusement, had vanished before the touch of affliction, and a 
calm melancholy supplied its place, which seemed on the watch 
to administer comfort to others. Perhaps the former arch, 
though innocent expression of countenance, was uppermost in 
her lover's recollection, when he concluded that Alice had acted 
a part in the disturbances which had taken place at the Lodge. 
It is certain, that when he now looked upon her, it was with 
shame for having nourished such a suspicion, and the resolution 
to believe rather that the devil had imitated her voice, than 
that a creature, who seemed so much above the feelings of this 
world, and so nearly allied to the purity of the next, should 
have had the indelicacy to mingle in such manoeuvres as he 
himself and others had been subjected to. 

These thoughts shot through his mind, in spite of the impro- 
priety of indulging them at such a moment. The service now 
approached the close, and a good deal to Colonel Everard's 
surprise, as well as confusion, the officiating priest, in firm and 
audible tone, and with every attribute of dignity, prayed to the 
Almighty to bless and preserve "Our Sovereign Lord, King 
Charles, the lawful and undoubted King of these realms." The 
petition (in those days most dangerous) was pronounced with 
a full, raised, and distinct articulation, as if the priest chal- 
lenged all who heard him to dissent, if they dared. If the 
republican officer did not assent to the petition, he thought at 
least it was no time to protest against it. 

The service was concluded in the usual manner, and the 
little congregation arose. It now included Wildrake, who had 
entered during the latter prayer, and was the first of the party 
to speak, running up to the priest, and shaking him by the 
hand most heartily, swearing at the same time, that he truly- 
rejoiced to see him. The good clergyman returned the pres- 
sure with a smile, observing he should have believed his asse- 
veration without an oath. In the meanwhile, Colonel Everard, 
approaching his uncle's seat, made a deep inclination of respect, 
first to Sir Henry Lee, and then to Alice, whose colour now 
spread from her cheek to her brow and bosom. 

" I have to crave your excuse," said the Colonel with hesitation, 
" for having chosen for my visit, which I dare not hope would be 
very agreeable at any time, a season most peculiarly unsuitable." 

I 



[30 WOODSTOCK 

"So far from it, nephew/' answered Sir Henry, with 
much more mildness of manner than Everard had dared to 
expect, "that your visits at other times would be much more 
welcome, had we the fortune to see you often at our hours of 
worship." 

u I hope the time will soon come, sir, when Englishmen of 
all sects and denominations," replied Everard, " will be free in 
conscience to worship in common the great Father, whom they 
all after their manner call by that affectionate name." 

"I hope so too, nephew," said the old man in the same 
unaltered tone ; " and we will not at present dispute, whether 
you would have the Church of England coalesce with the Con- 
venticle, or the Conventicle conform to the Church. It was, I 
ween, not to settle jarring creeds, that you have honoured our 
poor dwelling, where, to say the truth, we dared scarce have 
expected to see you again, so coarse was our last welcome." 

" I should be happy to believe," said Colonel Everard hesi- 
tating, "that — that — in short my presence was not now so 
unwelcome here as on that occasion." 

"Nephew," said Sir Henry, "I will be frank with you. 
When you were last here, I thought you had stolen from me a 
precious pearl, which at one time it would have been my pride 
and happiness to have bestowed on you ; but which, being such 
as you have been of late, I would bury in the depths of the 
earth rather than give to your keeping. This somewhat chafed, 
as honest Will says, 'the rash humour which my mother gave 
me.' I thought I was robbed, and I thought I saw the robber 
before me. I am mistaken — I am not robbed ; and the attempt 
without the deed I can pardon." 

"I would not willingly seek offence in your words, sir," said 
Colonel Everard, " when their general purport sounds kind ; but 
I can protest before Heaven, that my views and wishes towards 
you and your family are as void of selfish hopes and selfish ends, 
as they are fraught with love to you and to yours." 

" Let us hear them, man ; we are not much accustomed to 
good wishes nowadays ; and their very rarity will make them 
welcome." 

" I would willingly, Sir Henry, since you might not choose 
me to give you a more affectionate name, convert those wishes 
into something effectual for your comfort. Your fate, as the 
world now stands, is bad, and, I fear, like to be worse." 

" Worse than I expect it cannot be. Nephew, I do not 
shrink before my changes of fortune. I shall wear coarser 
clothes, — I shall feed on more ordinary food, — men will not 
doff their cap to me as they were wont, when I was the great 
and the wealthy. W T hat of that ? Old Harry Lee loved his 
honour better than his title, his faith better than his land 



WOODSTOCK 



and lordship. Have I not seen the 30th of January ? I am 
neither philomath nor astrologer; but old Will teaches me, 
that when green leaves fall winter is at hand, and that dark- 
ness will come when the sun sets." 

"Bethink you, sir/' said Colonel Everard, "if, without any 
submission asked, any oath taken, any engagement imposed, 
express or tacit, excepting that you are not to excite disturbances 
in the public peace, you can be restored to your residence in the 
Lodge, and your usual fortunes and perquisites there — I have 
great reason to hope this may be permitted, if not expressly, at 
least on sufferance." 

"Yes, I understand you. I am to be treated like the royal 
coin, marked with the ensign of the Rump to make it pass 
current, although I am too old to have the royal insignia grinded 
off from me. Kinsman, I will have none of this. I have lived 
at the Lodge too long ; and let me tell you, I had left it in 
scorn long since, but for the orders of one whom I may yet live 
to do service to. I will take nothing from the usurpers, be their 
name Rump or Cromwell — be they one devil or legion — I will 
not take from them an old cap to cover my grey hairs — a cast 
cloak to protect my frail limbs from the cold. They shall not 
say they have, by their unwilling bounty, made Abraham rich — 
I will live, as I will die, the Loyal Lee." 

" May I hope you will think of it, sir ; and that you will, 
perhaps, considering what slight submission is asked, give me 
a better answer ? " 

" Sir, if I retract my opinion, which is not my wont, you shall 
hear of it. — And now, cousin, have you more to say ? We keep 
that worthy clergyman in the outer room." 

"Something I had to say — something touching my cousin 
Alice," said Everard, with embarrassment; "but I fear that 
the prejudices of both are so strong against me " 

" Sir, I dare turn my daughter loose to you — I will go join 
the good doctor in dame Joan's apartment. I am not unwilling 
that you should know that the girl hath, in all reasonable sort, 
the exercise of her free will." 

He withdrew, and left the cousins together. 

Colonel Everard advanced to Alice, and was about to take 
her hand. She drew back, took the seat which her father had 
occupied, and pointed out to him one at some distance. 

" Are we then so much estranged, my dearest Alice ? " he said. 

"We will speak of that presently," she replied. " In the first 
place, let me ask the cause of your visit here at so late an hour." 

" You heard," said Everard, " what I stated to your father ? " 

" I did ; but that seems to have been only part of your 
errand — something there seemed to be which applied parti- 
cularly to me." 



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" It was a fancy — a strange mistake/' answered Everard. 
" May I ask if you have been abroad this evening ? " 

" Certainly not/' she replied. " I have small temptation to 
wander from my present home, poor as it is ; and whilst here, 
I have important duties to discharge. But why does Colonel 
Everard ask so strange a question?" 

"Tell me in turn, why your cousin Markham has lost the 
name of friendship and kindred, and even of some nearer feel- 
ing, and then I will answer you, Alice." 

" It is soon answered/' she said. " When you drew your 
sword against my father's cause — almost against his person — I 
studied, more than I should have done, to find excuse for you. 
I knew, that is, I thought I knew, your high feelings of public 
duty — I knew the opinions in which you had been bred up ; 
and I said, I will not, even for this, cast him off — he opposes 
his King because he is loyal to his country. You endeavoured 
to avert the great and concluding tragedy of the 30th of 
January ; and it confirmed me in my opinion, that Markham 
Everard might be misled, but could not be base or selfish." 

' e And what has changed your opinion, Alice ? or who dare ! " 
said Everard, reddening, " attach such epithets to the name of 
Markham Everard ? " 

"I am no subject," she said, "for exercising your valour, 
Colonel Everard, nor do I mean to offend. But you will find 
enough of others who will avow, that Colonel Everard is truck- 
ling to the usurper Cromwell, and that all his fair pretexts of 
forwarding his country's liberties, are but a screen for driving a 
bargain with the successful encroacher, and obtaining the best 
terms he can for himself and his family." 

" For myself — Never ! " 

" But for your family you have — Yes, I am well assured that 
you have pointed out to the military tyrant, the way in which 
he and his satraps may master the government. Do you think 
my father or I would accept an asylum purchased at the price 
of England's liberty, and your honour ? " 

" Gracious Heaven, Alice, what is this ? You accuse me of 
pursuing the very course which so lately had your approbation ! " 

" When you spoke with authority of your father, and recom- 
mended our submission to the existing government, such as it 
was, I own I thought — that my father's grey head might, with- 
out dishonour, have remained under the roof where it had so 
long been sheltered. But did your father sanction your becom- 
ing the adviser of yonder ambitious soldier to a new course 
of innovation, and his abettor in the establishment of a new 
species of tyranny ? — It is one thing to submit to oppression, 
another to be the agent of tyrants — And oh, Markham — their 
bloodhound ! " 



WOODSTOCK 



133 



" How ! bloodhound ? — what mean you ? — I own it is true 
I could see with content the wounds of this bleeding country 
stanched, even at the expense of beholding Cromwell, after his 
matchless rise, take a yet farther step to power — but to be his 
bloodhound ! What is your meaning ? " 

" It is false, then ? — I thought I could swear it had been false." 

u What, in the name of God, is it you ask ? " 

" It is false that you are engaged to betray the young King 
of Scotland ? " 

" Betray him ! / betray him, or any fugitive ? Never ! I 
would he were well out of England — I would lend him my 
aid to escape, were he in the house at this instant ; and think 
in acting so I did his enemies good service, by preventing their 
soiling themselves with his blood — but betray him, never ! " 

" I knew it — I was sure it was impossible. Oh, be yet more 
honest ; disengage yourself from yonder gloomy and ambitious 
soldier ! Shun him and his schemes, which are formed in in- 
justice, and can only be realised in yet more blood ! " 

"Believe me," replied Everard, "that I choose the line of 
policy best befitting the times." 

" Choose that," she said, " which bests befits duty, Markham 
— which best befits truth and honour. Do your duty, and let 
Providence decide the rest. — Farewell ! we tempt my father's 
patience too far — you know his temper — farewell, Markham." 

She extended her hand, which he pressed to his lips, and 
left the apartment. A silent bow to his uncle, and a sign to 
Wildrake, whom he found in the kitchen of the cabin, were the 
only tokens of recognition exhibited, and leaving the hut, he 
was soon mounted, and, with his companion, advanced on his 
return to the Lodge. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Deeds are done on earth 
Which have their punishment ere the earth closes 
Upon the perpetrators. Be it the working 
Of the remorse-stirr'd fancy, or the vision, 
Distinct and real, of unearthly being, 
All ages witness, that beside the couch 
Of the fell homicide oft stalks the ghost 
Of him he slew, and shows the shadowy wound. 

—Old Play. 

Everard had come to Joceline's hut as fast as horse could bear 
him, and with the same impetuosity of purpose as of speed. 
He saw no choice in the course to be pursued, and felt in his 
own imagination the strongest right to direct, and even reprove, 
his cousin, beloved as she was, on account of the dangerous 



134 WOODSTOCK 

machinations with which she appeared to have connected her- 
self. He returned slowly, and in a very different mood. 

Not only had Alice, prudent as beautiful, appeared completely 
free from the weakness of conduct which seemed to give him 
some authority over her, but her views of policy, if less practicable, 
were so much more direct and noble than his own, as led him 
to question whether he had not compromised himself too rashly 
with Cromwell, even although the state of the country was so 
greatly divided and torn by faction, that the promotion of the 
General to the possession of the executive government seemed 
the only chance of escaping a renewal of the Civil War. The 
more exalted and purer sentiments of Alice lowered him in his 
own eyes ; and though unshaken in his opinion, that it were 
better the vessel should be steered by a pilot having no good 
title to the office, than that she should run upon the breakers, 
he felt that he was not espousing the most direct, manly, and 
disinterested side of the question. 

As he rode on, immersed in these unpleasant contemplations, 
and considerably lessened in his own esteem by what had 
happened, Wildrake, who rode by his side, and was no friend to 
long silence, began to enter into conversation. " I have been 
thinking, Mark," said he, " that if you and I had been called to 
the bar — as, by-the-bye, has been in danger of happening to me 
in more senses than one — I say, had we become barristers, I 
would have had the better oiled tongue of the two — the fairer 
art of persuasion." 

"Perhaps so," replied Everard, "though I never heard thee 
use any, save to induce an usurer to lend thee money, or a 
taverner to abate a reckoning." 

" And yet this day, or rather night, I could have, as I think, 
made a conquest which baffled you." 

" Indeed ? " said the Colonel, becoming attentive. 

" Why, look you," said Wildrake, it was a main object with 
you to induce Mistress Alice Lee — By Heaven, she is an ex- 
quisite creature — I approve of your taste, Mark — I say, you 
desire to persuade her, and the stout old Trojan her father, to 
consent to return to the Lodge, and live there quietly, and 
under connivance, like gentle folk, instead of lodging in a hut 
hardly fit to harbour a Tom of Bedlam." 

"Thou art right ; such, indeed, was a great part of my object 
in this visit," answered Everard. 

" But pehaps you also expected to visit there yourself, and so 
keep watch over pretty Mistress Lee — eh ? " 

" I never entertained so selfish a thought," said Everard ; 
"and if this nocturnal disturbance at the mansion were ex- 
plained and ended, I would instantly take my departure." 

" Your friend Noll would expect something more from 



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you," said Wildrake ; "he would expect, in case the knight's 
reputation for loyalty should draw any of our poor exiles and 
wanderers about the Lodge, that you should be on the watch 
and ready to snap them. In a word, as far as I can understand 
his long-winded speeches, he would have Woodstock a trap, 
your uncle and his pretty daughter the bait of toasted cheese — 
craving your Chloe's pardon for the comparison — you the spring- 
fall which should bar their escape, his Lordship himself being 
the great grimalkin to whom they are to be given over to be 
devoured." 

"Dared Cromwell mention this to thee in express terms?" 
said Everard, pulling up his horse, and stopping in the midst 
of the road. 

" Nay, not in express terms, which I do not believe he ever 
used in his life ; you might as well expect a drunken man to 
go straight forward; but he insinuated as much to me, and 
indicated that you might deserve well of him — Gadzo, the 
damnable proposal sticks in my throat — by betraying our noble 
and rightful King [here he pulled off his hat], whom God 
grant in health and wealth long to reign, as the worthy clergy- 
man says, though I fear just now his Majesty is both sick and 
sorry, and never a penny in his pouch to boot." 

"This tallies with what Alice hinted," said Everard; "but 
how could she know it ? didst thou give her any hint of such 
a thing ? " 

"I !" replied the cavalier, "I, who never saw Mistress Alice 
in my life till to-night, and then only for an instant — zooks, 
man, how is that possible ? " 

"True," replied Everard, and seemed lost in thought. At 
length he spoke — "I should call Cromwell to account for his 
bad opinion of me ; for, even though not seriously expressed, 
but, as I am convinced it was, with the sole view of proving 
you, and perhaps myself, it was, nevertheless, a misconstruction 
to be resented." 

" I'll carry a cartel for you, with all my heart and soul," 
said Wildrake ; " and turn out with his godliness's second, 
with as goodwill as I ever drank a glass of sack." 

" Pshaw," replied Everard, " those in his high place fight no 
single combats. But tell me, Roger Wildrake, didst thou thy- 
self think me capable of the falsehood and treachery implied 
in such a message ? " 

"I!" exclaimed Wildrake. "Markham Everard, you have 
been my early friend, my constant benefactor. When Col- 
chester was reduced, you saved me from the gallows, and since 
that thou hast twenty times saved me from starving. But, 
by Heaven, if I thought you capable of such villainy as your 
General recommended, — by yonder blue sky, and all the works 



136 



WOODSTOCK 



of creation which it bends over, I would stab you with my own 
hand ! " 

"Death/' replied Everard, "I should indeed deserve, but 
not from you, perhaps; but fortunately, I cannot, if I would, 
be guilty of the treachery you would punish. Know that I had 
this day secret notice, and from Cromwell himself, that the young 
Man has escaped by sea from Bristol." 

u Now, God Almighty be blessed, who protected him through 
so many dangers ! " exclaimed Wildrake. " Huzza ! — Up hearts, 
cavaliers ! — Hey for cavaliers ! — God bless King Charles ! — Moon 
and stars, catch my hat ! " — and he threw it up as high as he 
could into the air. The celestial bodies which he invoked did 
not receive the present despatched to them ; but, as in the case 
of Sir Henry Lee's scabbard, an old gnarled oak became a 
second time the receptacle of a waif and stray of loyal enthu- 
siasm. Wildrake looked rather foolish at the circumstance, and 
his friend took the opportunity of admonishing him. 

" Art thou not ashamed to bear thee so like a schoolboy ? " 

" Why," said Wildrake, " I have but sent a Puritan's hat upon 
a loyal errand. I laugh to think how many of the schoolboys 
thou talk'st of will be cheated into climbing the pollard next 
year, expecting to find the nest of some unknown bird in yonder 
unmeasured margin of felt." 

" Hush now, for God's sake, and let us speak calmly," said 
Everard. " Charles has escaped, and I am glad of it. I would 
willingly have seen him on his father's throne by composition, 
but not by the force of the Scottish army, and the incensed and 
vengeful royalists." 

" Master Markham Everard," began the cavalier, interrupting 
him 

" Nay, hush, dear Wildrake," said Everard ; " let us not 
dispute a point on which we cannot agree, and give me leave 
to go on. — I say, since the young man has escaped, Cromwell's 
offensive and injurious stipulation falls to the ground ; and I 
see not why my uncle and his family should not again enter 
their own house, under the same terms of connivance as many 
other royalists. What may be incumbent on me is different, 
nor can I determine my course until I have an interview with 
the General, which, as I think, will end in his confessing that 
he threw in this offensive proposal to sound us both. It is 
much in his manner ; for he is blunt, and never sees or feels 
the punctilious honour which the gallants of the day stretch to 
such delicacy." 

H I'll acquit him of having any punctilio about him," said 
Wildrake, "either touching honour or honesty. Now, to 
come back to where we started. Supposing you were not to 
reside in person at the Lodge, and to forbear even visiting 



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there, unless on invitation, when such a thing can be brought 
about, I tell you frankly, I think your uncle and his daughter 
might be induced to come back to the Lodge, and reside there 
as usual. At least the clergyman, that worthy old cock, gave 
me to hope as much." 

" He had been hasty in bestowing his confidence," said 
Everard. 

" True," replied Wildrake ; " he confided in me at once ; 
for he instantly saw my regard for the Church. I thank 
Heaven I never passed a clergyman in his canonicals without 
pulling my hat off — (and thou knowest, the most desperate 
duel I ever fought was with young Grayless of the Inner 
Temple, for taking the wall of the Reverend Dr. Bunce) — Ah, 
I can gain a chaplain's ear instantly. Gadzooks, they know 
whom they have to trust to in such a one as I." 

" Dost thou think, then," said Colonel Everard, " or rather 
does this clergyman think, that if they were secure of intrusion 
from me, the family would return to the Lodge, supposing the 
intruding Commissioners gone, and this nocturnal disturbance 
explained and ended ? " 

"The old Knight," answered Wildrake, "may be wrought 
upon by the Doctor to return, if he is secure against intrusion. 
As for disturbances, the stout old boy, so far as I can learn in 
two minutes' conversation, laughs at all this turmoil as the 
work of mere imagination, the consequence of the remorse of 
their own evil consciences ; and says that goblin or devil was 
never heard of at Woodstock until it became the residence of 
such men as they, who have now usurped the possession." 

"There is more than imagination in it," said Everard. "I 
have personal reason to know there is some conspiracy carrying 
on, to render the house untenable by the Commissioners. I 
acquit my uncle of accession to such a silly trick ; but I must 
see it ended ere I can agree to his and my cousin's residing 
where such a confederacy exists ; for they are likely to be con- 
sidered as the contrivers of such pranks, be the actual agent 
who he may." 

" With reference to your better acquaintance with the gentle- 
man, Everard, I should rather suspect the old father of Puritans 
(I beg your pardon again) has something to do with the busi- 
ness ; and if so, Lucifer will never look near the true old 
Knight's beard, nor abide a glance of yonder maiden's innocent 
blue eyes. I will uphold them as safe as pure gold in a miser's 
chest." 

" Sawest thou aught thyself, which makes thee think thus ? " 

" Not a quill of the devil's pinion saw I," replied Wildrake. 
" He supposes himself too secure of an old cavalier, who must 
steal, hang, or drown, in the long run, so he gives himself no 



138 WOODSTOCK 

trouble to look after the assured booty. But I heard the serv- 
ing-fellows prate of what they had seen and heard ; and though 
their tales were confused enough, yet if there was any truth 
among them at all, I should say the devil must have been in 
the dance. — But, holla ! here comes some one upon us. — Stand, 
friend — who art thou ? " 

" A poor day-labourer in the great work of England — Joseph 
Tomkins by name — Secretary to a godly and well-endowed 
leader in this poor Christian army of England, called General 
Harrison." 

" What news, Master Tomkins ? " said Everard ; " and why are 
you on the road at this late hour ? " 

"1 speak to the worthy Colonel Everard, as I judge?" said 
Tomkins ; " and truly I am glad of meeting your honour. 
Heaven knows I need such assistance as yours. — Oh, worthy 
Master Everard ! — Here has been a sounding of trumpets, and 
a breaking of vials, and a pouring forth, and " 

* Prithee, tell me in brief, what is the matter — where is thy 
master — and, in a word, what has happened ? " 

" My master is close by, parading it in the little meadow, 
beside the hugeous oak, which is called by the name of the late 
Man ; ride but two steps forward, and you may see him walking 
swiftly to and fro, advancing all the while the naked weapon." 

Upon proceeding as directed, but with as little noise as pos- 
sible, they descried a man, whom of course they concluded must 
be Harrison, walking to and fro beneath the King's oak, as a 
sentinel under arms, but with more wildness of demeanour. 
The tramp of the horses did not escape his ear ; and they heard 
him call out, as if at the head of the brigade — " Lower pikes 
against cavalry ! — Here comes Prince Rupert — Stand fast, and 
you shall turn them aside, as a bull would toss a cur-dog. — 
Lower your pikes still, my hearts, the end secured against your 
foot — down on your right knee, front rank — spare not for the 
spoiling of your blue aprons. — Ha — Zerobabel — ay, that is the 
word ! " 

" In the name of Heaven, about whom or what is he talk- 
ing ! " said Everard ; " wherefore does he go about with his 
weapon drawn ? " 

" Truly, sir, when aught disturbs my master, General Harri- 
son, he is something rapt in the spirit, and conceives that he is 
commanding a reserve of pikes at the great battle of Armaged- 
don — and for his weapon, alack, worthy sir, wherefore should he 
keep Sheffield steel in calves' leather, when there are fiends to 
be combated — incarnate fiends on earth, and raging infernal 
fiends under the earth ? " 

" This is intolerable," said Everard. " Listen to me, Tom- 
kins. Thou art not now in the pulpit, and I desire none of thy 



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preaching language. I know thou canst speak intelligibly 
when thou art so minded. Remember, I may serve or harm 
thee; and as you hope or fear anything on my part, answer 
straightforward — What has happened to drive out thy master 
to the wild wood at this time of night ? " 

" Forsooth, worthy and honoured sir, I will speak with the 
precision I may. True it is, and of verity, that the breath of 
man, which is in his nostrils, goeth forth and returneth " 

" Hark you, sir," said Colonel Everard, " take care where you 
ramble in your correspondence with me. You have heard how 
at the great battle of Dunbar in Scotland, the General himself 
held a pistol to the head of Lieutenant Hewcreed, threatening 
to shoot him through the brain if he did not give up holding 
forth, and put his squadron in line to the front. Take care, sir." 

" Verily, the lieutenant then charged with an even and un- 
broken order," said Tomkins, "and bore a thousand plaids and 
bonnets over the beach before him into the sea. Neither shall 
I pretermit or postpone your honour's commands, but speedily 
obey them, and that without delay." 

" Go to, fellow ; thou knowest what I would have," said 
Everard ; " speak at once — I know thou canst if thou wilt. 
Trusty Tomkins is better known than he thinks for." 

"Worthy sir," said Tomkins, in a much less periphrastic 
style, " I will obey your worship as far as the spirit will permit. 
Truly, it was not an hour since, when my worshipful master 
being at table with Master Bibbet and myself, not to mention 
the worshipful Master Bletson and Colonel Desborough, and 
behold there was a violent knocking at the gate, as of one in 
haste. Now, of a certainty, so much had our household been 
harassed with witches and spirits, and other objects of sound 
and sight, that the sentinels could not be brought to abide 
upon their posts without doors, and it was only by a provision 
of beef and strong liquors that we were able to maintain a 
guard of three men in the hall, who nevertheless ventured not 
to open the door, lest they should be surprised with some of 
the goblins wherewith their imaginations were overwhelmed. 
And they heard the knocking, which increased until it seemed 
that the door was well-nigh about to be beaten down. Worthy 
Master Bibbet was a little overcome with liquor (as is his 
fashion, good man, about this time of the evening), not that he 
is in the least given to ebriety, but simply, that since the Scot- 
tish campaign he hath had a perpetual ague, which obliges him 
so to nourish his frame against the damps of the night ; where- 
fore, as it is well known to your honour that I discharge the 
office of a faithful servant, as well to Major-General Harrison, 
and the other Commissioners, as to my just and lawful master, 
Colonel Desborough *\ 



140 



WOODSTOCK 



" I know all that. — And now that thou art trusted by both, 
I pray to Heaven thou mayst merit the trust/' said Colonel 
Everard. 

" And devoutly do I pray/' said Tomkins, " that your wor- 
shipful prayers may be answered with favour ; for certainly 
to be, and to be called and entitled, Honest Joe, and Trusty 
Tomkins, is to me more than ever would be an Earl's title, 
were such things to be granted anew in this regenerated 
government." 

"Well, go on — go on — or if thou dalliest much longer, I 
will make bold to dispute the article of your honesty. I like 
short tales, sir, and doubt what is told with a long unnecessary 
train of words." 

"Well, good sir, be not hasty. As I said before, the doors 
rattled till you would have thought the knocking was reite- 
rated in every room of the Palace. The bell rung out for 
company, though we could not find that any one tolled the 
clapper, and the guards let off their firelocks, merely because 
they knew not what better to do. So, Master Bibbet being, as 
I said, unsusceptible of his duty, I went down with my poor 
rapier to the door, and demanded who was there ; and I was 
answered in a voice, which, I must say, was much like another 
voice, that it was one wanting Major-General Harrison. So, 
as it was then late, I answered mildly, that General Harrison 
was betaking himself to his rest, and that any who wished to 
speak to him must return on the morrow morning, for that 
after nightfall the door of the Palace, being in the room of a 
garrison, would be opened to no one. So the voice replied, 
and bid me open directly, without which he would blow the 
folding leaves of the door into the middle of the hall. And 
therewithal the noise recommenced, that we thought the house 
would have fallen ; and I was in some measure constrained 
to open the door, even like a besieged garrison which can hold 
out no longer." 

"By my honour, and it was stoutly done of you, I must 
say," said Wildrake, who had been listening with much interest. 
" I am a bold dare-devil enough, yet when I had two inches of 
oak plank between the actual fiend and me, hang him that 
would demolish the barrier between us, say I — I would as soon, 
when aboard, bore a hole in the ship, and let in the waves; 
for you know we always compare the devil to the deep sea." 

"Prithee, peace, Wildrake," said Everard, "and let him go 
on with his history. — Well, and what saw'st thou when the 
door was opened ? — the great Devil with his horns and claws 
thou wilt say, no doubt." 

" No, sir, I will say nothing but what is true. When I 
undid the door, one man stood there, and he, to seeming, a 



WOODSTOCK 



141 



man of no extraordinary appearance. He was wrapped in a 
taffeta cloak, of a scarlet colour, and with a red lining. He 
seemed as if he might have been in his time a very handsome 
man, but there was something of paleness and sorrow in his 
face — a long love-lock and long hair he wore, even after the 
abomination of the cavaliers, and the unloveliness, as learned 
Master Prynne well termed it, of love-locks — a jewel in his ear 
— a blue scarf over his shoulder, like a military commander for 
the King, and a hat with a white plume, bearing a peculiar 
hatband." 

" Some unhappy officer of cavaliers, of whom so many are in 
hiding, and seeking shelter through the country," briefly replied 
Everard. 

"True, worthy sir — right as a judicious exposition. But 
there was something about this man (if he was a man) whom 
I, for one, could not look upon without trembling ; nor the 
musketeers, who were in the hall, without betraying much 
alarm, and swallowing, as they themselves will aver, the very 
bullets which they had in their mouths for loading their cara- 
bines and muskets. Nay, the wolf and deer-dogs, that are the 
fiercest of their kind, fled from this visitor, and crept into holes 
and corners, moaning and wailing in a low and broken tone. 
He came into the middle of the hall, and still he seemed no 
more than an ordinary man, only somewhat fantastically dressed, 
in a doublet of black velvet pinked upon scarlet satin under his 
cloak, a jewel in his ear, with large roses in his shoes, and a 
kerchief in his hand, which he sometimes pressed against his 
left side." 

" Gracious Heavens ! " said Wildrake, coming close up to 
Everard, and whispering in his ear, with accents which terror 
rendered tremulous (a mood of mind most unusual to the daring 
man, who seemed now overcome by it) — "it must have been 
poor Dick Robison the player, in the very dress in which I have 
seen him play Philaster — ay, and drunk a jolly bottle with him 
after it at the Mermaid ! I remember how many frolics we had 
together, and all his little fantastic fashions. He served for 
his old master, Charles, in Mohun's troop, and was murdered 
by this butcher's dog, as I have heard, after surrender, at the 
battle of Naseby-field." 

" Hush ! I have heard of the deed," said Everard ; " for 
God's sake hear the man to an end. — Did this visitor speak to 
thee, my friend ? " 

"Yes, sir, in a pleasing tone of voice, but somewhat fanciful 
in the articulation, and like one who is speaking to an audience 
as from a bar or a pulpit, more than in the voice of ordinary 
men on ordinary matters. He desired to see Major-General 
Harrison." 



T42 WOODSTOCK 

*f He did ! — and you/' said Everard, infected by the spirit of 
the time, which, as is well known, leaned to credulity upon all 
matters of supernatural agency, — " what did you do ? " 

" I went up to the parlour, and related that such a person 
inquired for him. He started when I told him, and eagerly 
desired to know the man's dress ; but no sooner did I mention 
his dress, and the jewel in his ear, than he said, ' Begone ! tell 
him I will not admit him to speech of me. Say that I defy 
him, and will make my defiance good at the great battle in 
the valley of Armageddon, when the voice of the angel shall 
call all fowls which fly under the face of heaven to feed on the 
flesh of the captain and the soldier, the war-horse and his 
rider. Say to the Evil One, I have power to appeal our con- 
flict even till that day, and that in the front of that fearful day 
he will again meet with Harrison.' I went back with this 
answer to the stranger, and his face was writhed into such a 
deadly frown as a mere human brow hath seldom worn. 6 Re- 
turn to him,' he said, f and say it is my hour, and that if he 
come not instantly down to speak with me, I will mount the stairs 
to him. Say that I command him to descend, by the token, that, 
on the field of Naseby, he did not the work negligently." 

" I have heard," whispered Wildrake — who felt more and 
more strongly the contagion of superstition — " that these words 
were blasphemously used by Harrison when he shot my poor 
friend Dick." 

"What happened next?" said Everard. "See that thou 
speakest the truth." 

" As gospel unexpounded by a steeple-man," said the Inde- 
pendent ; " yet truly it is but little I have to say. I saw my 
master come down, with a blank, yet resolved air; and when 
he entered the hall and saw the stranger, he made a pause. 
The other waved on him as if to follow, and walked out at the 
portal. My worthy patron seemed as if he were about to 
follow, yet again paused, when this visitant, be he man or 
fiend, re-entered, and said, ' Obey thy doom. 

' By pathless march, by greenwood tree, 
It is thy weird to follow me — 
To follow me through the ghastly moonlight — 
To follow me through the shadows of night — 
To follow me, comrade, still art thou bound : 
I conjure thee by the unstanch'd wound — 
I conjure thee by the last words I spoke, 
When the body slept and the spirit awoke, 
In the very last pangs of the deadly stroke ! ' 

So saying, he stalked out, and my master followed him into 
the wood. — I followed also at a distance. But when I came 



WOODSTOCK 143 

up, my master was alone, and bearing himself as you now 
behold him." 

"Thou hast had a wonderful memory, friend," said the 
Colonel coldly, "to remember these rhymes in a single recita- 
tion — there seems something of practice in all this." 

" A single recitation, my honoured sir ? " exclaimed the 
Independent — "alack, the rhyme is seldom out of my poor 
master's mouth, when, as sometimes haps, he is less triumphant 
in his wrestles with Satan. But it was the first time I ever 
heard it uttered by another ; and, to say truth, he ever seems to 
repeat it unwillingly, as a child after his pedagogue, and as it 
was not indited by his own head, as the Psalmist saith." 

" It is singular," said Everard ; — " I have heard and read 
that the spirits of the slaughtered have strange power over the 
slayer ; but I am astonished to have it insisted upon that there 
may be truth in such tales. Roger Wildrake — what art thou 
afraid of, man ? — why dost thou shift thy place thus ? " 

"Fear? it is not fear — it is hate, deadly hate. — I see the 
murderer of poor Dick before me, and — see, he throws himself 
into a posture of fence — Sa — sa — say'st thou, brood of a butcher's 
mastiff? thou shalt not want an antagonist." 

Ere any one could stop him, Wildrake threw aside his cloak, 
drew his sword, and almost with a single bound cleared the 
distance betwixt him and Harrison, and crossed swords with 
the latter, as he stood brandishing his weapon, as if in imme- 
diate expectation of an assailant. Accordingly, the Republican 
General was not for an instant taken at unawares, but the 
moment the swords clashed, he shouted, " Ha ! I feel thee now, 
thou hast come in body at last. — Welcome ! welcome ! — the 
sword of the Lord and of Gideon ! " 

"Part them, part them," cried Everard, as he and Tomkins, 
at first astonished at the suddenness of the affray, hastened to 
interfere. Everard, seizing on the cavalier, drew him forcibly 
backwards, and Tomkins contrived, with risk and difficulty, to 
master Harrison's sword, while the General exclaimed, " Ha ! 
two to one — two to one ! — thus fight demons." Wildrake, on 
his side, swore a dreadful oath, and added, "Markham, you 
have cancelled every obligation I owed you — they are all out of 
sight — gone, d — n me ! " 

"You have indeed acquitted these obligations rarely," said 
Everard. "Who knows how this affair shall be explained and 
answered ? " 

" I will answer it with my life," said Wildrake. 

"Good now, be silent," said Tomkins, "and let me manage. 
It shall be so ordered that the good General shall never know 
that he hath encountered with a mortal man ; only let that man 
of Moab put his sword into the scabbard's rest, and be still." 



144 



WOODSTOCK 



" Wildrake, let me entreat thee to sheathe thy sword/' said 
Everard, " else, on my life, thou must turn against me." 

"No, 'fore George, not so mad as that neither, but I'll have 
another day with him." 

" Thou, another day ! " exclaimed Harrison, whose eye had 
still remained fixed on the spot where he found such palpable 
resistance. "Yes, I know thee well; day by day, week by 
week, thou makest the same idle request, for thou knowest that 
my heart quivers at thy voice. But my hand trembles not 
when opposed to thine — the spirit is willing to the combat, if 
the flesh be weak when opposed to that which is not of the 
flesh." 

" Now, peace all, for Heaven's sake," — said the steward 
Tomkins ; then added, addressing his master, " there is no one 
here, if it please your Excellence, but Tomkins and the worthy 
Colonel Everard." 

General Harrison, as sometimes happens in cases of partial 
insanity (that is, supposing his to have been a case of mental 
delusion), though firmly and entirely persuaded of the truth of 
his own visions, yet was not willing to speak on the subject to 
those who, he knew, would regard them as imaginary. Upon 
this occasion, he assumed the appearance of perfect ease and 
composure, after the violent agitation he had just manifested, 
in a manner which showed how anxious he was to disguise his 
real feelings from Everard, whom he considered as unlikely to 
participate them. 

He saluted the Colonel with profound ceremony, and talked 
of the fineness of the evening, which had summoned him forth 
of the Lodge, to take a turn in the Park, and enjoy the favour- 
able weather. He then took Everard by the arm, and walked 
back with him towards the Lodge, Wildrake and Tomkins 
following close behind and leading the horses. Everard, de- 
sirous to gain some light on these mysterious incidents, endea- 
voured to come on the subject more than once, by a mode of 
interrogation, which Harrison (for madmen are very often un- 
willing to enter on the subject of their mental delusion) parried 
with some skill, or addressed himself for aid to his steward 
Tomkins, who was <in the habit of being voucher for his master 
upon all occasions, which led to Desborough's ingenious nick- 
name of Fibbet. 

"And wherefore had you your sword drawn, my worthy 
General," said Everard, "when you were only on an evening 
walk of pleasure ? " 

" Truly, excellent Colonel, these are times when men must 
watch with their loins girded, and their lights burning, and 
their weapons drawn. The day draweth nigh, believe me or 
not as you will, that men must watch lest they be found naked 



WOODSTOCK 145 

and unarmed, when the seven trumpets shall sound, Boot and 
saddle ; and the pipes of Jezer shall strike up, Horse and 
away." 

" True, good General ; but methought I saw you making 
passes, even now, as if you were fighting," said Everard. 

" I am of a strange fantasy, friend Everard," answered Harri- 
son; "and when I walk alone, and happen, as but now, to 
have my weapon drawn, I sometimes, for exercise* sake, will 
practise a thrust against such a tree as that. It is a silly pride 
men have in the use of weapons. I have been accounted a 
master of fence, and have fought prizes when I was unregene- 
rated, and before I was called to do my part in the great work, 
entering as a trooper into our victorious General's first regiment 
of horse." 

"But methought," said Everard, "I heard a weapon clash 
with yours ? " 

" How ? a weapon clash with my sword ? — How could that 
be, Tomkins ? " 

"Truly, sir," said Tomkins, "it must have been a bough 
of the tree ; they have them of all kinds here, and your 
honour may have pushed against one of them, which the 
Brazilians call iron-wood, a block of which, being struck with 
a hammer, saith Purchas in his Pilgrimage, ringeth like an 
anvil." 

" Truly, it may be so," said Harrison ; " for those rulers 
who are gone, assembled in this their abode of pleasure 
many strange trees and plants, though they gathered not 
of the fruit of that tree which beareth twelve manner of 
fruits, or of those leaves which are for the healing of the 
nations." 

Everard pursued his investigation ; for he was struck with 
the manner in which Harrison evaded his questions, and the 
dexterity with which he threw his transcendental and fanatical 
notions, like a sort of veil, over the darker visions excited by 
remorse and conscious guilt. 

"But," said he, "if I may trust my eyes and ears, I cannot 
but still think that you had a real antagonist. — Nay, I am sure 
I saw a fellow, in a dark-coloured jerkin, retreat through the 
wood." 

" Did you ? " said Harrison, with a tone of surprise, while his 
voice faltered in spite of him — " Who could he be ? — Tomkins, 
did you see the fellow Colonel Everard talks of with the napkin 
in his hand — the bloody napkin which he always pressed to 
his side ? " 

This last expression, in which Harrison gave a mark different 
from that which Everard had assigned, but corresponding to 
Tomkins' s original description of the supposed spectre, had 



i46 WOODSTOCK 

more effect on Everard in confirming the steward's story, than 
anything he had witnessed or heard. The voucher answered 
the draft upon him as promptly as usual, that he had seen 
such a fellow glide past them into the thicket — that he dared 
to say he was some deer-stealer, for he had heard they were 
become very audacious. 

te Look ye there now, Master Everard," said Harrison, hurry- 
ing from the subject — " Is it not time now that we should lay 
aside our controversies, and join hand in hand to repairing the 
breaches of our Zion ? Happy and contented were I, my ex- 
cellent friend, to be a treader of mortar, or a bearer of a hod, 
upon this occasion, under our great leader, with whom Provi- 
dence has gone forth in this great national controversy ; and 
truly, so devoutly do I hold by our excellent and victorious 
General Oliver, whom Heaven long preserve — that were he to 
command me, I should not scruple to pluck forth of his high 
place the man whom they call Speaker, even as I lent a poor 
hand to pluck down the man whom they called King. — 
Wherefore, as I know your judgment holdeth with mine on 
this matter, let me urge unto you lovingly, that we may act as 
brethren, and build up the breaches, and re-establish the bul- 
warks of our English Zion, whereby we shall be doubtless 
chosen as pillars and buttresses, under our excellent Lord- 
General, for supporting and sustaining the same, and endowed 
with proper revenues and incomes, both spiritual and temporal, 
to serve as a pedestal, on which we may stand, seeing that 
otherwise our foundation will be on the loose sand. — Never- 
theless," continued he, his mind again diverging from his 
views of temporal ambition into his visions of the Fifth 
Monarchy, " these things are but vanity in respect of the 
opening of the book which is sealed ; for all things approach 
speedily towards lightning and thundering, and unloosing of 
the great dragon from the bottomless pit, wherein he is 
chained." 

With this mingled strain of earthly politics, and fanatical 
prediction, Harrison so overpowered Colonel Everard, as to 
leave him no time to urge him farther on the particular cir- 
cumstances of his nocturnal skirmish, concerning which it is 
plain he had no desire to be interrogated. They now reached 
the Lodge of Woodstock. 



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147 



CHAPTER XV 

Now the wasted brands do glow, 
"While the screech-owl, sounding loud, 
Puts the wretch that lies in woe, 
In remembrance of a shroud. 
Now it is the time of night 
That the graves, all gaping wide, 
Every one lets out its sprite, 
In the church-way paths to glide. 

—Midsummer Night's Dream. 

Before the gate of the palace the guards were now doubled. 
Everard demanded the reason of this from the corporal, whom 
he found in the hall with his soldiers, sitting or sleeping around 
a great fire, maintained at the expense of the carved chairs and 
benches, with fragments of which it was furnished. 

"Why, verily," answered the man, "the corps-de-garde, as 
your worship says, will be harassed to pieces by such duty ; 
nevertheless, fear hath gone abroad among us, and no man will 
mount guard alone. We have drawn in, however, one or two 
of our outposts from Banbury and elsewhere, and we are to 
have a relief from Oxford to-morrow." 

Everard continued minute inquiries concerning the sentinels 
that were posted within as well as without the Lodge ; and 
found that, as they had been stationed under the eye of 
Harrison himself, the rules of prudent discipline had been 
exactly observed in the distribution of the posts. There re- 
mained nothing therefore for Colonel Everard to do, but, 
remembering his own adventure of the evening, to recommend 
that an additional sentinel should be placed, with a companion, 
if judged indispensable, in that vestibule, or ante-room, from 
which the long gallery where he had met with the rencontre, 
and other suites of apartments, diverged. The corporal respect- 
fully promised all obedience to his orders. The serving-men 
being called, appeared also in double force. Everard demanded 
to know whether the Commissioners had gone to bed, or whether 
he could get speech with them ? 

"They are in their bedroom, forsooth," replied one of the 
fellows ; " but I think they be not yet undressed." 

" What ! " said Everard, " are Colonel Desborough and Master 
Bletson both in the same sleeping apartment ? " 

" Their honours have so chosen it," said the man ; " and their 
honours' secretaries remain upon guard all night." 

" It is the fashion to double guards all over the house," said 
Wildrake. " Had I a glimpse of a tolerably good-looking house- 
maid now, I should know how to fall into the fashion." 



WOODSTOCK 



" Peace, fool ! " said Everard — " And where are the Mayor 
and Master Holdenough ? " 

" The Mayor is returned to the borough on horseback, behind 
the trooper, who goes to Oxford for the reinforcement ; and the 
man of the steeple-house hath quartered himself in the chamber 
which Colonel Desborough had last night, being that in which 

he is most likely to meet the your honour understands. 

The Lord pity us, we are a harassed family ! " 

"And where be General Harrison's knaves," said Tomkins, 
" that they do not marshal him to his apartment ? " 

"Here — here — here, Master Tomkins," said three fellows, 
pressing forward, with the same consternation on their faces 
which seemed to pervade the whole inhabitants of Woodstock. 

" Away with you, then," said Tomkins ; — " speak not to his 
worship — you see he is not in the humour." 

"Indeed," observed Colonel Everard, "he looks singularly 
wan — his features seem writhen as by a palsy stroke ; and 
though he was talking so fast while we came along, he hath 
not opened his mouth since we came to the light." 

" It is his manner after such visitations," said Tomkins. — 
" Give his honour your arms, Zedekiah and Jonathan, to lead 
him off — I will follow instantly. — You, Nicodemus, tarry to 
wait upon me — it is not well walking alone in this mansion." 

" Master Tomkins," said Everard, " I have heard of you often 
as a sharp, intelligent man — tell me fairly, are you in earnest 
afraid of anything supernatural haunting this house ? " 

" I would be loth to run the chance, sir," said Tomkins very 
gravely ; " by looking on my worshipful master, you may form 
a guess how the living look after they have spoken with the 
dead." He bowed low, and took his leave. Everard proceeded 
to the chamber which the two remaining Commissioners had, 
for comfort's sake, chosen to inhabit in company. They were 
preparing for bed as he went into their apartment. Both started 
as the door opened — both rejoiced when they saw it was only 
Everard who entered. 

" Hark ye hither," said Bletson, pulling him aside, " sawest 
thou ever ass equal to Desborough ? — the fellow is as big as 
an ox, and as timorous as a sheep. He has insisted on my 
sleeping here, to protect him. Shall we have a merry night 
on't, ha ? We will, if thou wilt take the third bed, which 
was prepared for Harrison ; but he is gone out, like a moon- 
calf, to look for the valley of Armageddon in the Park of 
Woodstock." 

"General Harrison has returned with me but now," said 
Everard. 

" Nay but, as I shall live, he comes not into our apartment," 
said Desborough, overhearing his answer. "No man that has 



WOODSTOCK 



T49 



been supping, for aught I know, with the Devil, has a right to 
sleep among Christian folk." 

"He does not propose so," said Everard ; " he sleeps, as I 
understand, apart — and alone." 

" Not quite alone, I dare say," said Desborough ; " for Harrison 
hath a sort of attraction for goblins — they fly round him like 
moths about a candle. But, I prithee, good Everard, do thou 
stay with us. I know not how it is, but although thou hast 
not thy religion always in thy mouth, nor speakest many hard 
words about it, like Harrison — nor makest long preachments, 
like a certain most honourable relation of mine who shall be 
nameless, yet somehow I feel myself safer in thy company than 
with any of them. As for this Bletson, he is such a mere 
blasphemer, that I fear the Devil will carry him away ere 
morning." 

" Did you ever hear such a paltry coward ? " said Bletson 
apart to Everard. " Do tarry, however, mine honoured Colonel 
— I know your zeal to assist the distressed, and you see Des- 
borough is in that predicament, that he will require near him 
more than one good example to prevent him thinking of ghosts 
and fiends." 

u I am sorry I cannot oblige you, gentlemen," said Everard ; 
"but I have settled my mind to sleep in Victor Lee's apart- 
ment, so I wish you good night ; and if you would repose 
without disturbance, I would advise that you commend your- 
selves, during the watches of the night, to Him unto whom 
night is even as mid-day. I had intended to have spoken 
with you this evening on the subject of my being here ; 
but I will defer the conference till to-morrow, when, I think, 
I will be able to show you excellent reasons for leaving 
Woodstock." 

"We have seen plenty such already," said Desborough; "for 
one, I came here to serve the estate, with some moderate 
advantage doubtless to myself for my trouble ; but if I am set 
upon my head again to-night, as I was the night before, I would 
not stay longer to gain a king's crown ; for I am sure my neck 
would be unfitted to bear the weight of it." 

" Good night," exclaimed Everard ; and was about to go, 
when Bletson again pressed close, and whispered to him, " Hark 
thee, Colonel — you know my friendship for thee — I do implore 
thee to leave the door of thy apartment open, that if thou 
meetest with any disturbance, I may hear thee call, and be with 
thee upon the very instant. Do this, dear Everard, my fears 
for thee will keep me awake else ; for I know that, notwith- 
standing your excellent sense, you entertain some of those 
superstitious ideas which we suck in with our mother's milk, and 
which constitute the ground of our fears in situations like the 



i5o 



WOODSTOCK 



present ; therefore leave thy door open, if you love me, that 
you may have ready assistance from me in case of need." 

" My master/' said Wildrake, " trusts, first, in his Bible, sir, 
and then in his good sword. He has no idea that the Devil 
can be baffled by the charm of two men lying in one room, still 
less that the foul fiend can be argued out of existence by the 
Nullifidians of the Rota." 

Everard seized his imprudent friend by the collar, and dragged 
him off as he was speaking, keeping fast hold of him till they 
were both in the chamber of Victor Lee, where they had slept 
on a former occasion. Even then he continued to hold Wildrake, 
until the servant had arranged the lights, and was dismissed 
from the room ; then letting him go, addressed him with the 
upbraiding question, "Art thou not a prudent and sagacious 
person, who in times like these seek'st every opportunity to 
argue yourself into a broil, or embroil yourself in an argument ? 
Out on you ! " 

" Ay, out on me indeed," said the cavalier ; " out on me for 
a poor tame-spirited creature, that submits to be bandied about 
in this manner, by a man who is neither better born nor better 
bred than myself. I tell thee, Mark, you make an unfair use of 
your advantages over me. Why will you not let me go from 
you, and live and die after my own fashion ? " 

" Because before we had been a week separate, I should hear 
of your dying after the fashion of a dog. Come, my good friend, 
what madness was it in thee to fall foul on Harrison, and then 
to enter into useless argument with Bletson ?" 

"Why, we are in the Devil's house, I think, and I would 
willingly give the landlord his due wherever I travel. To have 
sent him Harrison, or Bletson now, just as a lunch to stop his 
appetite, till Crom " 

" Hush ! stone walls have ears," said Everard, looking around 
him. " Here stands thy night-drink. Look to thy arms, for 
we must be as careful as if the Avenger of Blood were behind us. 
Yonder is thy bed — and I, as thou seest, have one prepared in 
the parlour. The door only divides us." 

"Which I will leave open, in case thou shouldst holla for 
assistance, as yonder Nullifidian hath it. — But how hast thou 
got all this so well put in order, good patron ?" 

" I gave the steward Tomkins notice of my purpose to sleep 
here." 

"A strange fellow that," said Wildrake, "and, as I judge, 
has taken measure of every one's foot — all seems to pass through 
his hands." 

" He is, I have understood," replied Everard, " one of the 
men formed by the times — has a ready gift of preaching and 
expounding, which keeps him in high terms with the Inde- 



WOODSTOCK 



pendents; and recommends himself to the more moderate people 
by his intelligence and activity," 

" Has his sincerity ever been doubted ? " said Wildrake. 

" Never, that I heard of," said the Colonel ; " on the con- 
trary, he has been familiarly called Honest Joe, and Trusty 
Tomkins. For my part, I believe his sincerity has always kept 
pace with his interest. — But come, finish thy cup, and to bed. — 
What, all emptied at one draught ! " 

" Adzookers, yes — my vow forbids me to make two on't; 
but, never fear — the nightcap will only warm my brain, not 
clog it. So, man or devil, give me notice if you are disturbed, 
and rely on me in a twinkling." So saying, the cavalier re- 
treated into his separate apartment, and Colonel Everard, taking 
off the most cumbrous part of his dress, lay down in his hose 
and doublet, and composed himself to rest. 

He was awakened from sleep by a slow and solemn strain of 
music, which died away as at a distance. He started up, and 
felt for his arms, which he found close beside him. His tem- 
porary bed being without curtains, he could look around him 
without difficulty ; but as there remained in the chimney only 
a few red embers of the fire which he had arranged before he 
went to sleep, it was impossible he could discern anything. 
He felt, therefore, in spite of his natural courage, that undefined 
and thrilling species of tremor which attends a sense that 
danger is near, and an uncertainty concerning its cause and 
character. Reluctant as he was to yield belief to supernatural 
occurrences, we have already said he was not absolutely incre- 
dulous ; as perhaps, even in this more sceptical age, there are 
many fewer complete and absolute infidels on this particular 
than give themselves out for such. Uncertain whether he had 
not dreamed of these sounds which seemed yet in his ears, he 
was unwilling to risk the raillery of his friend by summoning 
him to his assistance. He sat up, therefore, in his bed, not 
without experiencing that nervous agitation to which brave 
men as well as cowards are subject ; with this difference, that 
the one sinks under it, like the vine under the hail-storm, and 
the other collects his energies to shake it off, as the cedar of 
Lebanon is said to elevate its boughs to disperse the snow which 
accumulates upon them. 

The story of Harrison, in his, own absolute despite, and not- 
withstanding a secret suspicion which he had of trick or con- 
nivance, returned on his mind at this dead and solitary hour. 
Harrison, he remembered, had described the vision by a circum- 
stance of its appearance different from that which his own 
remark had been calculated to suggest to the mind of the 
visionary ; — that bloody napkin, always pressed to the side, was 
then a circumstance present either to his bodily eye, or to that 



WOODSTOCK 



of his agitated imagination. Did, then, the murdered revisit 
the living haunts of those who had forced them from the stage 
with all their sins unaccounted for? And if they did, might 
not the same permission authorise other visitations of a similar 
nature, to warn — to instruct — to punish ? Rash are they, was 
his conclusion, and credulous, who receive as truth every tale 
of the kind ; but no less rash may it be, to limit the power of 
the Creator over the works which He has made, and to suppose 
that, by the permission of the Author of Nature, the laws of 
Nature may not, in peculiar cases, and for high purposes, be 
temporarily suspended. 

While these thoughts passed through Everard's mind, feel- 
ings unknown to him, even when he stood first on the rough 
and perilous edge of battle, gained ground upon him. He 
feared he knew not what ; and where an open and discernible 
peril would have drawn out his courage, the absolute uncer- 
tainty of his situation increased his sense of the danger. He 
felt an almost irresistible desire to spring from his bed and 
heap fuel on the dying embers, expecting by the blaze to see 
some strange sight in his chamber. He was also strongly 
tempted to awaken Wildrake ; but shame, stronger than fear 
itself, checked these impulses. What ! should it be thought 
that Markham Everard, held one of the best soldiers who had 
drawn a sword in this sad war — Markham Everard, who had 
obtained such distinguished rank in the army of the Parliament, 
though so young in years, was afraid of remaining by himself 
in a twilight-room at midnight ? It never should be said. 

This was, however, no charm for his unpleasant current of 
thought. There rushed on his mind the various traditions of 
Victor Lee's chamber, which, though he had often despised 
them as vague, unauthenticated, and inconsistent rumours, 
engendered by ancient superstition, and transmitted from gene- 
ration to generation by loquacious credulity, had something in 
them, which did not tend to allay the present unpleasant state 
of his nerves. Then, when he recollected the events of that 
very afternoon, the weapon pressed against his throat, and the 
strong arm which threw him backward on the floor — if the 
remembrance served to contradict the idea of flitting phantoms, 
and unreal daggers, it certainly induced him to believe that 
there was in some part of this extensive mansion a party of 
cavaliers, or malignants, harboured, who might arise in the 
night, overpower the guards, and execute upon them all, but 
on Harrison in particular, as one of the regicide judges, that 
vengeance, which was so eagerly thirsted for by the attached 
followers of the slaughtered monarch. 

He endeavoured to console himself on this subject by the 
number and position of the guards, yet still was dissatisfied with 



WOODSTOCK 



153 



himself for not having taken yet more exact precautions, and 
for keeping an extorted promise of silence, which might consign 
so many of his party to the danger of assassination. These 
thoughts, connected with his military duties, awakened another 
train of reflections. He bethought himself, that all he could 
now do was to visit the sentries, and ascertain that they were 
awake, alert, on the watch, and so situated, that in time of need 
they might be ready to support each other. — " This better befits 
me/' he thought, "than to be here like a child, frightening 
myself with the old woman's legend, which I have laughed at 
when a boy. What although old Victor Lee was a sacrilegious 
man, as common report goes, and brewed ale in the font which 
he brought from the ancient palace of Holyrood, while church 
and building were in flames ? And what although his eldest 
son was when a child scalded to death in the same vessel ? 
How many churches have been demolished since his time ? 
How many fonts desecrated ? So many indeed, that were the 
vengeance of Heaven to visit such aggressions in a supernatural 
manner, no corner in England, no, not the most petty parish 
church, but would have its apparition. — Tush, these are idle 
fancies, unworthy, especially, to be entertained by those 
educated to believe that sanctity resides in the intention and 
the act, not in the buildings or fonts, or the form of worship/' 

As thus he called together the articles of his Calvinistic 
creed, the bell of the great clock (a token seldom silent in such 
narratives) tolled three, and was immediately followed by the 
hoarse call of the sentinels through vault and gallery, upstairs 
and beneath, challenging and answering each other with the 
usual watchword, " All's Well." Their voices mingled with the 
deep boom of the bell, yet ceased before that was silent, and 
when they had died away, the tingling echo of the prolonged 
knell was scarcely audible. Ere yet that last distant tingling 
had finally subsided into silence, it seemed as if it again was 
awakened ; and Everard could hardly judge at first whether a 
new echo had taken up the falling cadence, or whether some 
other and separate sound was disturbing anew the silence to 
which the deep knell had, as its voice ceased, consigned the 
ancient mansion and the woods around it. 

But the doubt was soon cleared up. The musical tones which 
had mingled with the dying echoes of the knell, seemed at 
first to prolong, and afterwards to survive them. A wild strain 
of melody, beginning at a distance, and growing louder as it 
advanced, seemed to pass from room to room, from cabinet to 
gallery, from hall to bower, through the deserted and dis- 
honoured ruins of the ancient residence of so many sovereigns ; 
and, as it approached, no soldier gave alarm, nor did any of the 
numerous guests of various degrees, who spent an unpleasant 



154 



WOODSTOCK 



and terrified night in that ancient mansion, seem to dare to 
announce to each other the inexplicable cause of apprehension. 

Everard's excited state of mind did not permit him to be so 
passive. The sounds approached so nigh, that it seemed they 
were performing, in the very next apartment, a solemn service 
for the dead, when he gave the alarm, by calling loudly to 
his trusty attendant and friend Wildrake, who slumbered in 
the next chamber with only a door betwixt them, and even 
that ajar. 

" Wildrake — Wildrake ! — Up — up ! Dost thou not hear the 
alarm ? " 

There was no answer from Wildrake, though the musical 
sounds, which now rung through the apartment, as if the per- 
formers had actually been within its precincts, would have been 
sufficient to awaken a sleeping person, even without the shout 
of his comrade and patron. 

"Alarm! — Roger Wildrake — alarm!" again called Everard, 
getting out of bed, and grasping his weapons — "Get a light, 
and cry alarm ! " 

There was no answer. His voice died away as the sound of 
the music seemed also to die ; and the same soft sweet voice, 
which still to his thinking resembled that of Alice Lee, was 
heard in his apartment, and, as he thought, at no distance 
from him. 

" Your comrade will not answer," said the low soft voice. 
"Those only hear the alarm whose consciences feel the call !" 

"Again this mummery ! " said Everard. " I am better armed 
than I was of late ; and but for the sound of that voice, the 
speaker had bought his trifling dear." 

It was singular, we may observe in passing, that the instant 
the distinct sounds of the human voice were heard by Everard, 
all idea of supernatural interference was at an end, and the 
charm by which he had been formerly fettered appeared to be 
broken ; so much is the influence of imaginary or superstitious 
terror dependent (so far as respects strong judgments at least) 
upon what is vague or ambiguous ; and so readily do distinct 
tones, and express ideas, bring such judgments back to the 
current of ordinary life. The voice returned answer, as address- 
ing his thoughts as well as his words. 

" We laugh at the weapons thou thinkest should terrify us — 
Over the guardians of Woodstock they have no power. Fire, 
if thou wilt, and try the effect of thy weapons. But know, it 
is not our purpose to harm thee — thou art of a falcon breed, and 
noble in thy disposition, though, unreclaimed and ill-nurtured, 
thou hauntest with kites and carrion crows. Wing thy flight 
from hence on the morrow, for if thou tarriest with the bats, 
owls, vultures, and ravens, which have thought to nestle here 



WOODSTOCK 155 

thou wilt inevitably share their fate. Away then, that these 
halls may be swept and garnished for the reception of those 
who have a better right to inhabit them.'* 

Everard answered in a raised voice. — "Once more I warn 
you, think not to defy me in vain. I am no child to be fright- 
ened by goblins' tales ; and no coward, armed as I am, to be 
alarmed at the threats of banditti. If I give you a moment's 
indulgence, it is for the sake of dear and misguided friends, 
who may be concerned with this dangerous gambol. Know, I 
can bring a troop of soldiers round the castle, who will search 
its most inward recesses for the author of this audacious frolic ; 
and if that search should fail, it will cost but a few barrels of 
gunpowder to make the mansion a heap of ruins, and bury 
under them the authors of such an ill-judged pastime." 

" You speak proudly, Sir Colonel," said another voice, similar 
to that harsher and stronger tone by which he had been ad- 
dressed in the gallery ; "try your courage in this direction." 

" You should not dare me twice," said Colonel Everard, " had 
I a glimpse of light to take aim by." 

As he spoke, a sudden gleam of light was thrown with a 
brilliancy which almost dazzled the speaker, showing distinctly 
a form somewhat resembling that of Victor Lee, as represented 
in his picture, holding in one hand a lady completely veiled, 
and in the other his leading-staff, or truncheon. Both figures 
were animated, and, as it appeared, standing within six feet of 
him. 

" Were it not for the woman," said Everard, " I would not be 
thus mortally dared." 

" Spare not for the female form, but do your worst," replied 
the same voice. " I defy you." 

"Repeat your defiance when I have counted thrice," said 
Everard, "and take the punishment of your insolence. Once 
— I have cocked my pistol — Twice — I never missed my aim — 
By all that is sacred, I fire if you do not withdraw. When I 
pronounce the next number, I will shoot you dead where you 
stand. I am yet unwilling to shed blood — I give you another 
chance of flight — once — twice — thrice ! " 

Everard aimed at the bosom, and discharged his pistol. 
The figure waved its arm in an attitude of scorn ; and a loud 
laugh arose, during which the light, as gradually growing 
weaker, danced and glimmered upon the apparition of the aged 
knight, and then disappeared. Everard's life-blood ran cold to 
his heart — ** Had he been of human mould," he thought, " the 
bullet must have pierced him — but I have neither will nor 
power to fight with supernatural beings." 

The feeling of oppression was now so strong as to be actually 
sickening. He groped his way, however, to the fireside, and 



156 WOODSTOCK 

flung on the embers which were yet gleaming, a handful of dry 
fuel. It presently blazed, and afforded him light to see the 
room in every direction. He looked cautiously, almost timidly, 
around, and half expected some horrible phantom to become 
visible. But he saw nothing save the old furniture, the reading 
desk, and other articles, which had been left in the same state 
as when Sir Henry Lee departed. He felt an uncontrollable 
desire, mingled with much repugnance, to look at the portrait 
of the ancient knight, which the form he had seen so strongly 
resembled. He hesitated betwixt the opposing feelings, but at 
length snatched, with desperate resolution, the taper which he 
had extinguished, and relighted it, ere the blaze of the fuel had 
again died away. He held it up to the ancient portrait of 
Victor Lee, and gazed on it with eager curiosity, not unmingled 
with fear. Almost the childish terrors of his earlier days 
returned, and he thought the severe pale eye of the ancient 
warrior followed his, and menaced him with its displeasure. 
And although he quickly argued himself out of such an absurd 
belief, yet the mixed feelings of his mind were expressed in 
words that seemed half addressed to the ancient portrait. 

"Soul of my mother's ancestor," he said, "be it for weal or 
for woe, by designing men, or by supernatural beings, that 
these ancient halls are disturbed, I am resolved to leave them 
on the morrow." 

" I rejoice to hear it, with all my soul," said a voice behind 
him. 

He turned, saw a tall figure in white, with a sort of turban 
upon its head, and dropping the candle in the exertion, instantly 
grappled with it. 

" Thou at least art palpable," he said. 

" Palpable ? " answered he whom he grasped so strongly — 
" 'Sdeath, methinks you might know that without the risk of 
choking me ; and if you loose me not, I'll show you that two 
can play at the game of wrestling." 

* Roger Wil drake ! " said Everard, letting the cavalier loose, 
and stepping back. 

" Roger Wildrake ? ay, truly. Did you take me for Roger 
Bacon, come to help you to raise the devil ? — for the place 
smells of sulphur consumedly." 

" It is the pistol I fired — Did you not hear it ? " 

" Why, yes, it was the first thing waked me — for that night- 
cap which I pulled on, made me sleep like a dormouse — Pshaw, 
I feel my brains giddy with it yet." 

* And wherefore came you not on the instant ? — I never 
needed help more." 

* I came as fast as I could," answered Wildrake ; * but it 
was some time ere I got my senses collected, for I was dream- 



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157 



ing of that cursed field at Naseby — and then the door of my 
room was shut, and hard to open, till I played the locksmith 
with my foot." 

" How ! it was open when I went to bed," said Everard. 

" It was locked when I came out of bed, though," said 
Wildrake, "and I marvel you heard me not when I forced it 
open." 

"My mind was occupied otherwise," said Everard. 

" Well," said Wildrake, " but what has happened ? — Here 
am I bolt upright, and ready to fight, if this yawning fit will 
give me leave — Mother Redcap's mightiest is weaker than I 
drank last night by a bushel to a barleycorn — I have quaffed 
the very elixir of malt — Ha — yaw." 

" And some opiate besides, I should think," said Everard. 

" Very like — very like — less than the pistol-shot would not 
waken me ; even me, who with but an ordinary grace-cup, 
sleep as lightly as a maiden on the first of May, when she 
watches for the earliest beam to go to gather dew. But what 
are you about to do next ? " 

" Nothing," answered Everard. 

" Nothing ? " said Wildrake in surprise. 

" I speak it," said Colonel Everard, " less for your informa- 
tion, than for that of others who may hear me, that I will leave 
the Lodge this morning, and, if it is possible, remove the 
Commissioners." 

Hark," said Wildrake, " do you not hear some noise like 
the distant sound of the applause of a theatre ? The goblins 
of the place rejoice in your departure." 

" I shall leave Woodstock," said Everard, " to the occupation 
of my uncle Sir Henry Lee, and his family, if they choose to 
resume it ; not that I am frightened into this as a conces- 
sion to the series of artifices which have been played off on 
this occasion, but solely because such was my intention from 
the beginning. But let me warn" (he added, raising his 
voice) — "let me warn the parties concerned in this combina- 
tion, that though it may pass off successfully on a fool 
like Desborough, a visionary like Harrison, a coward like 
Bletson " 

Here a voice distinctly spoke, as standing near them — "or a 
wise, moderate, and resolute person, like Colonel Everard." 

" By Heaven, the voice came from the picture," said Wild- 
rake, drawing his sword ; " I will pink his plaited armour for 
him." 

" Offer no violence," said Everard, startled at the interrup- 
tion, but resuming with firmness what he was saying — " Let 
those engaged be aware, that however this string of artifices 
may be immediately successful, it must, when closely looked 



158 WOODSTOCK 

into, be attended with the punishment of all concerned — the 
total demolition of Woodstock, and the irremediable downfall of 
the family of Lee. Let all concerned think of this, and desist 
in time." 

He paused, and almost expected a reply, but none such 
came. 

" It is a very odd thing," said Wildrake ; " but yaw-ha — my 
brain cannot compass it just now ; it whirls round like a toast in 
a bowl of muscadine : I must sit down — ha-yaw — and discuss 
it at leisure — Gramercy, good elbow-chair." 

So saying, he threw himself, or rather sank gradually down 
on a large easy-chair which had been often pressed by the weight 
of stout Sir Henry Lee, and in an instant was sound asleep. 
Everard was far from feeling the same inclination for slumber, 
yet his mind was relieved of the apprehension of any farther 
visitation that night ; for he considered his treaty to evacuate 
Woodstock as made known to, and accepted in all probability 
by, those whom the intrusion of the Commissioners had induced 
to take such singular measures for expelling them. His opinion, 
which had for a time bent towards a belief in something super- 
natural in the disturbances, had now returned to the more 
rational mode of accounting for them by dexterous combination, 
for which such a mansion as Woodstock afforded so many 
facilities. 

He heaped the hearth with fuel, lighted the candle, and 
examining poor Wildrake's situation, adjusted him as easily in 
the chair as he could, the cavalier stirring his limbs no more 
than an infant. His situation went far, in his patron's opinion, 
to infer trick and confederacy, for ghosts have no occasion to 
drug men's possets. He threw himself on the bed, and while 
he thought these strange circumstances over, a sweet and low 
strain of music stole through the chamber, the words, "Good 
night — good night — good night," thrice repeated, each time in 
a softer and more distant tone, seeming to assure him that the 
goblins and he were at truce, if not at peace, and that he had 
no more disturbance to expect that night. He had scarcely the 
courage to call out a "good night ;" for, after all his conviction 
of the existence of a trick, it was so well performed as to bring 
with it a feeling of fear, just like what an audience experience 
during the performance of a tragic scene, which they know to 
be unreal, and which yet affects their passions by its near ap- 
proach to nature. Sleep overtook him at last, and left him not 
till broad daylight on the ensuing morning. 



WOODSTOCK 



i59 



CHAPTER XVI 

And yonder shines Aurora s harbinger, 

At whose approach ghosts, wandering here and there, 

Troop home to churchyard. 

—Midsummer Night's Dream. 

With the fresh air and the rising of morning, every feeling of 
the preceding night had passed away from Colonel Everard's 
mind, excepting wonder how the effects which he had witnessed 
could be produced. He examined the whole room, sounding 
bolt, floor, and wainscot with his knuckles and cane, but was 
unable to discern any secret passages ; while the door, secured 
by a strong cross-bolt, and the lock besides, remained as firm 
as when he had fastened it on the preceding evening. The 
apparition resembling Victor Lee next called his attention. 
Ridiculous stories had been often circulated, of this figure, or 
one exactly resembling it, having been met with by night 
among the waste apartments and corridors of the old palace ; 
and Markham Everard had often heard such in his childhood. 
He was angry to recollect his own deficiency of courage, and 
the thrill which he felt on the preceding night, when by con- 
federacy, doubtless, such an object was placed before his eyes. 

" Surely," he said, a this fit of childish folly could not make 
me miss my aim — more likely that the bullet had been with- 
drawn clandestinely from the pistol." 

He examined that which was undischarged — he found the 
bullet in it. He investigated the apartment opposite to the 
point at which he had fired, and, at five feet from the floor in 
a direct line between the bedside and the place where the 
appearances had been seen, a pistol-ball had recently buried 
itself in the wainscot. He had little doubt, therefore, that he 
had fired in a just direction ; and indeed to have arrived at the 
place where it was lodged, the bullet must have passed through 
the appearance at which he aimed, and proceeded point blank 
to the wall beyond. This was mysterious, and induced him 
to doubt whether the art of witchcraft or conjuration had not 
been called in to assist the machinations of those daring con- 
spirators, who, being themselves mortal, might, nevertheless, 
according to the universal creed of the times, have invoked and 
obtained assistance from the inhabitants of another world 

His next investigation respected the picture of Victor Lee 
itself. He examined it minutely as he stood on the floor before 
it, and compared its pale, shadowy, faintly- traced outlines, its 
faded colours, the stern repose of the eye, and death-like pallid- 
ness of the countenance, with its different aspect on the pre- 



160 WOODSTOCK 

ceding night, when illuminated by the artificial light which fell 
full upon it, while it left every other part of the room in com- 
parative darkness. The features seemed then to have an 
unnatural glow, while the rising and falling of the flame in the 
chimney gave the head and limbs something which resembled 
the appearance of actual motion. Now, seen by day, it was a 
mere picture of the hard and ancient school of Holbein ; last 
night, it seemed for the moment something more. Determined 
to get to the bottom of this contrivance if possible, Everard, by 
the assistance of a table and chair, examined the portrait still 
more closely, and endeavoured to ascertain the existence of any 
private spring, by which it might be slipt aside, — a contrivance 
not unfrequent in ancient buildings, which usually abounded 
with means of access and escape, communicated to none but the 
lords of the castle, or their immediate confidants. But the 
panel on which Victor Lee was painted was firmly fixed in the 
wainscoting of the apartment, of which it made a part, and the 
Colonel satisfied himself that it could not have been used for 
the purpose which he had suspected. 

He next aroused his faithful squire, Wildrake, who, notwith- 
standing his deep share of the "blessedness of sleep," had 
scarce even yet got rid of the effects of the grace-cup of the 
preceding evening. " It was the reward," according to his own 
view of the matter, et of his temperance ; one single draught 
having made him sleep more late and more sound than a 
matter of half-a-dozen, or from thence to a dozen pulls, would 
have done, when he was guilty of the enormity of rere-s uppers,* 
and of drinking deep after them." 

" Had your temperate draught," said Everard, * been but a 
thought more strongly seasoned, Wildrake, thou hadst slept so 
sound that the last trump only could have waked thee." 

"And then," answered Wildrake, "I should have waked 
with a headache, Mark ; for I see my modest sip has not 
exempted me from that epilogue. But let us go forth, and 
see how the night, which we have passed so strangely, has been 
spent by the rest of them. I suspect they are all right willing 
to evacuate Woodstock, unless they have either rested better 
than we, or at least been more lucky in lodgings." 

"In that case, I will despatch thee down to Joceline's hut, j 
to negotiate the re-entrance of Sir Henry Lee and his family 
into their old apartments, where, my interest with the General 

* Rere-suppers (quasi arriere) belonged to a species of luxury intro- j 
duced in the jolly days of King James's extravagance, and continued j 
through the subsequent reign. The supper took place at an early hour, six j 
or seven o'clock at latest — the rere-supper was a postliminary banquet, a 
hors dSceuvre, which made its appearance at ten or eleven, and served as 
an apology for prolonging the entertainment till midnight. 



WOODSTOCK 



161 



being joined with the indifferent repute of the place itself, I 
think they have little chance of being disturbed either by the 
present, or by any new Commissioners." 

" But how are they to defend themselves against the fiends, 
my gallant Colonel?" said Wildrake. "Methinks had I an 
interest in yonder pretty girl, such as thou dost boast, I should 
be loth to expose her to the terrors of a residence at Woodstock, 
where these devils — I beg their pardon, for I suppose they hear 
every word we say — these merry goblins — make such gay work 
from twilight till morning." 

"My dear Wildrake," said the Colonel, "I, as well as you, 
believe it possible that our speech may be overheard ; but I 
care not, and will speak my mind plainly. I trust Sir Henry 
and Alice are not engaged in this silly plot ; I cannot reconcile 
it with the pride of the one, the modesty of the other, or the 
good sense of both, that any motive could engage them in so 
strange a conjunction. But the fiends are all of your own 
political persuasion, W T ildrake, all true-blue cavaliers ; and I 
am convinced, that Sir Henry and Alice Lee, though they be 
unconnected with them, have not the slightest cause to be 
apprehensive of their goblin machinations. Besides, Sir Henry 
and Joceline must know every corner about the place : it will 
be far more difficult to play off any ghostly machinery upon 
him than upon strangers. But let us to our toilet, and when 
water and brush have done their work, we will inquire what is 
next to be done." 

"Nay, that wretched puritan's garb of mine is hardly worth 
brushing," said Wildrake ; " and but for this hundred-weight 
of rusty iron, with which thou hast bedizened me, I look more 
like a bankrupt Quaker than anything else. But I'll make 
you as spruce as ever was a canting rogue of your party." 

So saying, and humming at the same time the cavalier 
tune, — 

" ' Though for a time we see Whitehall 
With cobwebs hung around the wall, 
Yet Heaven shall make amends for all, 

When the King shall enjoy his own again.' " 

" Thou forgettest who are without," said Colonel Everard 
" No — I remember who are within," replied his friend. " I 
only sing to my merry goblins, who will like me all the better 
for it. Tush, man, the devils are my bonos socios, and when I 
see them, I will warrant they prove such roaring boys as I knew 
when I served under Lunford and Goring, fellows with long 
nails that nothing escaped, bottomless stomachs, that nothing 
filled, — mad for pillaging, ranting, drinking, and fighting, — 
sleeping rough on the trenches, and dying stubbornly in their 

L 



l62 



WOODSTOCK 



boots. Ah ! those merry days are gone. Well, it is the fashion 
to make a grave face on't among cavaliers, and specially the 
parsons that have lost their tithe-pigs ; but I was fitted for the 
element of the time, and never did or can desire merrier days 
than I had during that same barbarous, bloody, and unnatural 
rebellion." 

"Thou wert ever a wild sea-bird, Roger, even according to 
your name ; liking the gale better than the calm, the boisterous 
ocean better than the smooth lake, and your rough, wild 
struggle against the wind, than daily food, ease, and quiet." 

" Pshaw ! a fig for your smooth lake, and your old woman to 
feed me with brewer's grains, and the poor drake obliged to 
come swattering whenever she whistles ! Everard, I like to feel 
the wind rustle against my pinions, — now diving, now on the 
crest of the wave, now in ocean, now in sky — that is the wild- 
drake's joy, my grave one ! And in the Civil War so it went 
with us — down in one county, up in another, beaten to-day, 
victorious to-morrow — now starving in some barren leaguer — 
now revelling in a Presbyterian's pantry — his cellars, his plate- 
chest, his old judicial thumb-ring, his pretty serving-wench, all 
at command ! " 

" Hush, friend," said Everard ; " remember I hold that per- 
suasion." 

" More the pity, Mark, more the pity," said Wildrake ; " but, 
as you say, it is needless talking of it. Let us e'en go and see 
how your Presbyterian pastor, Mr. Holdenough, has fared, and 
whether he has proved more able to foil the foul Fiend than 
have you his disciple and auditor." 

They left the apartment accordingly, and were overwhelmed 
with the various incoherent accounts of sentinels and others, all 
of whom had seen or heard something extraordinary in the 
course of the night. It is needless to describe particularly the 
various rumours which each contributed to the common stock, with 
the greater alacrity that in such cases there seems always to be a 
sort of disgrace in not having seen or suffered as much as others. 

The most moderate of the narrators only talked of sounds 
like the mewing of a cat, or the growling of a dog, especially 
the squeaking of a pig. They heard also as if it had been nails 
driven and saws used, and the clashing of fetters, and the rust- 
ling of silk gowns, and the notes of music, and in short all sorts 
of sounds, which have nothing to do with each other. Others 
swore they had smelt savours of various kinds, chiefly bitumi- 
nous, indicating a Satanic derivation ; others did not indeed 
swear, but protested, to visions of men in armour, horses with- 
out heads, asses with horns, and cows with six legs, not to 
mention black figures, whose cloven hoofs gave plain informa- 
tion what realm they belonged to. 



WOODSTOCK 



But these strongly-attested cases of nocturnal disturbances 
among the sentinels had been so general as to prevent alarm 
and succour on any particular point, so that those who were on 
duty called in vain on the corps-de-garde, who were trembling 
on their own post ; and an alert enemy might have done com- 
plete execution on the whole garrison. But amid this general 
alerte, no violence appeared to be meant, and annoyance, not 
injury, seemed to have been the goblins' object, excepting in the 
case of one poor fellow, a trooper, who had followed Harrison 
in half his battles, and now was sentinel in that very vestibule 
upon which Everard had recommended them to mount a guard. 
He had presented his carabine at something which came 
suddenly upon him, when it was wrested out of his hands, and 
he himself knocked down with the butt-end of it. His broken 
head, and the drenched bedding of Desborough, upon whom a 
tub of ditch-water had been emptied during his sleep, were the 
only pieces of real evidence to attest the disturbances of the 
night. 

The reports from Harrison's apartment were, as delivered by 
the grave Master Tomkins, that truly the General had passed 
the night undisturbed, though there was still upon him a deep 
sleep, and a folding of the hands to slumber ; from which Eve- 
rard argued that the machinators had esteemed Harrison's part 
of the reckoning sufficiently paid off on the preceding evening. 

He then proceeded to the apartment doubly garrisoned by 
the worshipful Desborough, and the philosophical Bletson. 
They were both up and dressing themselves ; the former open- 
mouthed in his feeling of fear and suffering. Indeed, no sooner 
had Everard entered, than the ducked and dismayed Colonel 
made a dismal complaint of the way he had spent the night, and 
murmured not a little against his worshipful kinsman for im- 
posing a task upon him which inferred so much annoyance. 

"Could not his Excellency, my kinsman Noll," he said, 
" have given his poor relative and brother-in-law a sop some- 
where else than out of this Woodstock, which seems to be the 
devil's own porridge-pot ? I cannot sup broth with the devil ; 
I have no long spoon — not I. Could he not have quartered me 
in some quiet corner, and given this haunted place to some of 
his preachers and prayers, who know the Bible as well as the 
muster-roll ? whereas I know the four hoofs of a clean-going 
nag, or the points of a team of oxen, better than all the books 
of Moses. But I will give it over, at once and for ever ; hopes 
of earthly gain shall never make me run the risk of being 
carried away bodily by the devil, besides being set upon my 
head one whole night, and soused with ditch-water the next — 
No, no ; I am too wise for that." 

Master Bletson had a different part to act. He complained 



164 



WOODSTOCK 



of no personal annoyances ; on the contrary, he declared he 
should have slept as well as ever he did in his life, but for the 
abominable disturbances around him, of men calling to arms 
every half-hour, when so much as a cat trotted by one of their 
posts — He would rather, he said, "have slept among a whole 
sabaoth of witches, if such creatures could be found." 

"Then you think there are no such things as apparitions, 
Master Bletson ? " said Everard. " I used to be sceptical on the 
subject ; but, on my life, to-night has been a strange one." 

" Dreams, dreams, dreams, my simple Colonel," said Bletson, 
though his pale face and shaking limbs belied the assumed 
courage with which he spoke. " Old Chaucer, sir, hath told us 
the real moral on't — He was an old frequenter of the forest of 
Woodstock, here " 

" Chaser ? " said Desborough ; " some huntsman, belike, by his 
name. Does he walk, like Hearne at Windsor ? " 

"Chaucer," said Bletson, "my dear Desborough, is one of 
those wonderful fellows, as Colonel Everard knows, who live 
many a hundred years after they are buried, and whose words 
haunt our ears after their bones are long mouldered in the 
dust." 

" Ay, ay ! well," answered Desborough, to whom this descrip- 
tion of the old poet was unintelligible — " I for one desire his 
room rather than his company ; one of your conjurors, I warrant 
him. But what says he to the matter ? " 

" Only a slight spell, which I will take the freedom to repeat 
to Colonel Everard," said Bletson; "but which would be as bad 
as Greek to thee, Desborough. Old Geoffrey lays the whole 
blame of our nocturnal disturbance on superfluity of humours, 

' Which causen folke to dred in their dreams 
Of arrowes, and of fire with red gleams, 
Right as the humour of Melancholy 
Causeth many a man in sleep to cry 
For fear of great bulls and bears black, 
And others that black devils will them take.' " 

While he was thus declaiming, Everard observed a book 
sticking out from beneath the pillow of the bed lately occupied 
by the honourable member. 

" Is that Chaucer ? " he said, making to the volume ; " I 
would like to look at the passage " 

" Chaucer ? " said Bletson, hastening to interfere ; " no — that 
is Lucretius, my darling Lucretius. I cannot let you see it ; I 
have some private marks." 

But by this time Everard had the book in his hand. " Lucre- 
tius ? " he said ; " no, Master Bletson — this is not Lucretius, but 
a fitter comforter in dread or in danger — Why should you be 



WOODSTOCK 165 

ashamed of it ? Only, Bletson, instead of resting your head, if 
you can but anchor your heart upon this volume, it may serve 
you in better stead than Lucretius or Chaucer either." 

" Why, what book is it ? " said Bletson, his pale cheek colour- 
ing with the shame of detection. ft Oh ! the Bible ! " throwing 
it down contemptuously ; " some book of my fellow Gibeon's ; 
these Jews have been always superstitious — ever since Juvenal's 
time, thou knowest — 

1 Qualiacunque voles Judsei somnia vendunt.' 

He left me the old book for a spell, I warrant you ; " for 'tis a 
well-meaning fool." 

"He would scarce have left the New Testament as well as 
the Old," said Everard. " Come, my dear Bletson, do not be 
ashamed of the wisest thing you ever did in your life, supposing 
you took your Bible in an hour of apprehension, with a view to 
profit by the contents." 

Bletson's vanity was so much galled that it overcame his 
constitutional cowardice. His little thin fingers quivered for 
eagerness, his neck and cheeks were as red as scarlet, and his 
articulation was as thick and vehement as — in short, as if he 
had been no philosopher. 

" Master Everard," he said, "you are a man of the sword, 
sir ; and, sir, you seem to suppose yourself entitled to say what- 
ever comes into your mind with respect to civilians, sir. But I 
would have you remember, sir, that there are bounds beyond 
which human patience may be urged, sir — and jests which no 
man of honour will endure, sir — and therefore, I expect an 
apology for your present language, Colonel Everard, and this 
unmannerly jesting, sir — or you may chance to hear from me 
in a way that will not please you." 

Everard could not help smiling at this explosion of valour, 
engendered by irritated self-love. 

• " Look you, Master Bletson," he said, " I have been a soldier, 
that is true, but I was never a bloody-minded one ; and, as a 
Christian, I am unwilling to enlarge the kingdom of darkness 
by sending a new vassal thither before his time. If Heaven 
gives you time to repent, I see no reason why my hand should 
deprive you of it, which, were we to have a rencontre, would 
be your fate in the thrust of a sword, or the pulling of a trigger 
— I therefore prefer to apologise ; and I call Desborough, if he 
has recovered his wits, to bear evidence that I do apologise for 
having suspected you, who are completely the slave of your 
own vanity, of any tendency, however slight, towards grace or 
good sense. And I farther apologise for the time that I have 
wasted in endeavouring to wash an Ethiopian white, or in 
recommending rational inquiry to a self-willed atheist." 



1 66 



WOODSTOCK 



Bletson, overjoyed at the turn the matter had taken — for the 
defiance was scarce out of his mouth ere he began to tremble 
for the consequences — answered with great eagerness and ser- 
vility of manner, — " Nay, dearest Colonel, say no more of it — an 
apology is all that is necessary among men of honour — it neither 
leaves dishonour with him who asks it, nor infers degradation 
on him who makes it." 

"Not such an apology as I have made, I trust," said the 
Colonel. 

" No, no — not in the least," answered Bletson — " one apo- 
logy serves me just as well as another, and Desborough will 
bear witness you have made one, and that is all there can be 
said on the subject." 

"Master Desborough and you," rejoined the Colonel, "will 
take care how the matter is reported, I dare say ; and I only 
recommend to both, that, if mentioned at all, it may be told 
correctly." 

" Nay, nay, we will not mention it at all," said Bletson, " we 
will forget it from this moment. Only, never suppose me cap- 
able of superstitious weakness. Had I been afraid of an ap- 
parent and real danger — why such fear is natural to man — and 
I will not deny that the mood of mind may have happened to 
me as well as to others. But to be thought capable of resort- 
ing to spells, and sleeping with books under my pillow to secure 
myself against ghosts, — on my word, it was enough to provoke 
one to quarrel, for the moment, with his very best friend. — And 
now, Colonel, what is to be done, and how is our duty to be exe- 
cuted at this accursed place ? If I should get such a wetting 
as Desborough' s, why I should die of catarrh, though you see 
it hurts him no more than a bucket of water thrown over a post- 
horse. You are, I presume, a brother in our commission, — how 
are you of opinion we should proceed ? " 

" Why, in good time here comes Harrison," said Everard, 
"and I will lay my commission from the Lord-General before 
you all ; which, as you see, Colonel Desborough, commands you 
to desist from acting on your present authority, and intimates 
his pleasure accordingly, that you withdraw from this place." 

Desborough took the paper and examined the signature. — 
1 It is Noll's signature sure enough," said he, dropping his under 
jaw ; "only, every time of late he has made the Oliver as large 
as a giant, while the Cromwell creeps after like a dwarf, as if the 
surname were like to disappear one of these days altogether. 
But is his Excellency, our kinsman, Noll Cromwell (since he has 
the surname yet) so unreasonable as to think his relations and 
friends are to be set upon their heads till they have the crick in 
their neck — drenched as if they had been plunged in a horse- 
pond — frightened, day and night, by all sort of devils, witches., 



WOODSTOCK 



and fairies, and get not a penny of smart-money? Adzooks 
(forgive me for swearing), if that's the case I had better home 
to my farm, and mind team and herd, than dangle after such a 
thankless person, though I have wived his sister. She was 
poor enough when I took her, for as high as Noll holds his 
head now." 

" It is not my purpose," said Bletson, " to stir debate in this 
honourable meeting ; and no one will doubt the veneration and 
attachment which I bear to our noble General, whom the cur- 
rent of events, and his own matchless qualities of courage and 
constancy, have raised so high in these deplorable days. — If I 
were to term him a direct and immediate emanation of the 
Animus Mundi itself — something which Nature had produced in 
her proudest hour, while exerting herself, as is her law, for the 
preservation of the creatures to whom she has given existence — 
I should scarce exhaust the ideas which I entertain of him. 
Always protesting, that I am by no means to be held as admit- 
ting, but merely as granting for the sake of argument the 
possible existence of that species of emanation, or exhalation, 
from the Animus Mundi, of which I have made mention. I 
appeal to you, Colonel Desborough, who are his Excellency's 
relation — to you, Colonel Everard, who hold the dearer title of 
his friend, whether I have overrated my zeal in his behalf?" 

Everard bowed at this pause, but Desborough gave a more 
complete authentication. ** Nay, I can bear witness to that. I 
have seen when you were willing to tie his points or brush his 
cloak, or the like — and to be treated thus ungratefully — 
and gudgeon ed of the opportunities which had been given 
you— — " 

" It is not for that," said Bletson, waving his hand gracefully. 
" You do me wrong, Master Desborough — you do indeed, kind 
sir — although I know you meant it not — No, sir — no partial 
consideration of private interest prevailed on me to undertake 
this charge. It was conferred on me by the Parliament of 
England, in whose name this war commenced, and by the 
Council of State, who are the conservators of England's liberty. 
And the chance and serene hope of serving the country, the 
confidence that I — and you, Master Desborough — and you, 
worthy General Harrison — superior, as I am, to all selfish con- 
siderations — to which I am sure you also, good Colonel Everard, 
would be superior, had you been named in this Commission, as 
I would to Heaven you had — I say, the hope of serving the 
country, with the aid of such respectable associates, one and all 
of them — as well as you, Colonel Everard, supposing you to have 
been of the number, induced me to accept of this opportunity, 
whereby I might, gratuitously, with your assistance, render so 
much advantage to our dear mother the Commonwealth of 



WOODSTOCK 



England. — Such was my hope — my trust — my confidence. And 
now comes my Lord-General's warrant to dissolve the authority 
by which we are entitled to act. Gentlemen, I ask this honour- 
able meeting (with all respect to his Excellency), whether his 
commission be paramount to that from which he himself directly 
holds his commission ? No one will say so. I ask whether he 
has climbed into the seat from which the late Man descended, 
or hath a great seal, or means to proceed by prerogative in such 
a case ? I cannot see reason to believe it, and therefore I must 
resist such doctrine. I am in your judgment, my brave and 
honourable colleagues ; but, touching my own poor opinion, I 
feel myself under the unhappy necessity of proceeding in our 
commission, as if the interruption had not taken place ; with 
this addition, that the Board of Sequestrators should sit, by day, 
at this same Lodge of Woodstock, but that, to reconcile the 
minds of weak brethren, who may be afflicted by superstitious 
rumours, as well as to avoid any practice on our persons by the 
malignants, who, I am convinced, are busy in this neighbour- 
hood, we should remove our sittings after sunset to the George 
Inn, in the neighbouring borough." 

"Good Master Bletson," replied Colonel Everard, "it is not 
for me to reply to you ; but you may know in what characters 
this army of England and their General write their authority. 
I fear me the annotation on this precept of the General, will be 
expressed by the march of a troop of horse from Oxford to see 
it executed. I believe there are orders out for that effect ; and 
you know, by late experience, that the soldier will obey his 
General equally against King and Parliament." 

" That obedience is conditional," said Harrison, starting 
fiercely up. t( Know'st thou not, Markham Everard, that I have 
followed the man Cromwell as close as the bull-dog follows his 
master ? — and so I will yet ; — but I am no spaniel, either to be 
beaten, or to have the food I have earned snatched from me, as 
if I were a vile cur, whose wages are a whipping, and free leave 
to wear my own skin. I looked, amongst the three of us, that 
we might honestly, and piously, and with advantage to the 
Commonwealth, have gained out of this commission three, or it 
may be five thousand pounds. And does Cromwell imagine I 
will part with it for a rough word ? No man goeth a warfare 
on his own charges. He that serves the altar must live by the 
altar — and the saints must have means to provide them with good 
harness and fresh horses against the unsealing and the pouring 
forth. Does Cromwell think I am so much of a tame tiger as 
to permit him to rend from me at pleasure the miserable dole 
he hath thrown me ? Of a surety I will resist ; and the men 
who are here, being chiefly of my own regiment — men who 
wait, and who expect, with lamps burning and loins girded, 



WOODSTOCK 169 

and each one his weapon bound upon his thigh, will aid 
me to make this house good against every assault — ay, even 
against Cromwell himself, until the latter coming — Selah ! 
Selah ! " 

" And I," said Desborough, " will levy troops and protect 
your out-quarters, not choosing at present to close myself up 
in garrison " 

"And I," said Bletson, "will do my part, and hie me to 
town and lay the matter before Parliament, arising in my place 
for that effect." 

Everard was little moved by all these threats. The only 
formidable one, indeed, was that of Harrison, whose enthu- 
siasm, joined with his courage, and obstinacy, and character 
among the fanatics of his own principles, made him a danger- 
ous enemy. Before trying any arguments with the refractory 
Major-General, Everard endeavoured to moderate his feelings, 
and threw something in about the late disturbances. 

"Talk not to me of supernatural disturbances, young man 
< — talk not to me' of enemies in the body or out of the body. 
Am I not the champion chosen and commissioned to encounter 
and to conquer the Great Dragon, and the Beast which cometh 
out of the sea ? Am I not to command the left wing, and two 
regiments of the centre, when the saints shall encounter with 
the countless legions of Gog and Magog? I tell thee that 
my name is written on the sea of glass mingled with fire, and 
that I will keep this place of Woodstock against all mortal 
men, and against all devils, whether in field or chamber, in 
the forest or in the meadow, even till the Saints reign in the 
fulness of their glory/' 

Everard saw it was then time to produce two or three lines 
under Cromwell's hand, which he had received from the 
General, subsequently to the communication through Wildrake. 
The information they contained was calculated to allay the dis- 
appointment of the Commissioners. This document assigned as 
the reason of superseding the Woodstock Commission, that he 
should probably propose to the Parliament to require the assist- 
ance of General Harrison, Colonel Desborough, and Master 
Bletson, the honourable member for Littlefaith, in a much 
greater matter, namely, the disposing of the royal property, 
and disparking of the King's forest at Windsor. So soon as 
this idea was started, all parties pricked up their ears; and 
their drooping, and gloomy, and vindictive looks began to give 
place to courteous smiles, and to a cheerfulness, which laughed 
in their eyes, and turned their moustaches upwards. 

Colonel Desborough acquitted his right honourable and ex- 
cellent cousin and kinsman of all species of unkindness ; Master 
Bletson discovered, that the interest of the state was trebly 



i7o WOODSTOCK 




concerned in the good administration of Windsor more than in 
that of Woodstock. As for Harrison, he exclaimed, without 
disguise or hesitation, that the gleaning of the grapes of 
Windsor was better than the vintage of Woodstock. Thus 
speaking, the glance of his dark eye expressed as much triumph 
in the proposed earthly advantage, as if it had not been, accord- 
ing to his vain persuasion, to be shortly exchanged for his share 
in the general reign of the Millennium. His delight, in short, 
resembled the joy of an eagle, who preys upon a lamb in the 
evening with not the less relish, because she descries in the 
distant landscape an hundred thousand men about to join battle 
with daybreak, and to give her an endless feast on the hearts 
and lifeblood of the valiant. 

Yet though all agreed that they would be obedient to the 
General's pleasure in this matter, Bletson proposed, as a pre- 
cautionary measure, in which all agreed, that they should take 
up their abode for some time in the town of Woodstock, to 
wait for their new commissions respecting Windsor ; and this 
upon the prudential consideration, that it was best not to slip 
one knot until another was first tied. 

Each commissioner, therefore, wrote to Oliver individually, 
stating, in his own way, the depth and height, length and 
breadth, of his attachment to him. Each expressed himself 
resolved to obey the General's injunctions to the uttermost; 
but with the same scrupulous devotion to the Parliament, 
each found himself at a loss how to lay down the commission 
entrusted to them by that body, and therefore felt bound in 
conscience to take up his residence at the borough of Wood- 
stock, that he might not seem to abandon the charge com- 
mitted to them, until they should be called to administrate the 
weightier matter of Windsor, to which they expressed their 
willingness instantly to devote themselves, according to his 
Excellency's pleasure. 

This was the general style of their letters, varied by the 
characteristic flourishes of the writers. Desborough, for ex- 
ample, said something about the religious duty of providing for 
one's own household, only he blundered the text. Bletson 
wrote long and big words about the political obligation encum- 
bent on every member of the community, on every person, to ! 
sacrifice his time and talents to the service of his country ; j 
while Harrison talked of the littleness of present affairs, in I 
comparison of the approaching tremendous change of all things j 
beneath the sun. But although the garnishing of the various j 
epistles was different, the result came to the same, that they ' 
were determined at least to keep sight of Woodstock, until j 
they were well assured of some better and more profitable com- 
mission. 

1 



WOODSTOCK 



171 



Everard also wrote a letter in the most grateful terms to 
Cromwell, which would probably have been less warm had he 
known more distinctly than his follower chose to tell him, the 
expectation under which the wily General had granted his 
request. He acquainted his Excellency with his purpose of 
continuing at Woodstock, partly to assure himself of the 
motions of the three commissioners, and to watch whether they 
did not again enter upon the execution of the trust, which they 
had for the present renounced, — and partly to see that some 
extraordinary circumstances, which had taken place in the 
Lodge, and which would doubtless transpire, were not followed 
by any explosion to the disturbance of the public peace. He 
knew (as he expressed himself) that his Excellency was so 
much the friend of order, that he would rather disturbances or 
insurrections were prevented than punished; and he conjured 
the General to repose confidence in his exertions for the public 
service by every mode within his power ; not aware, it will be 
observed, in what peculiar sense his general pledge might be 
interpreted. 

These letters being made up into a packet, were forwarded 
to Windsor by a trooper, detached on that errand. 



CHAPTER XVII 

We do that in our zeal, 

Our calmer moments are afraid to answer. 

— Anonymous. 

While the Commissioners were preparing to remove themselves 
from the Lodge to the inn at the borough of Woodstock, with 
all that state and bustle which attend the movements of great 
persons, and especially of such to whom greatness is not en- 
tirely familiar, Everard held some colloquy with the Presby- 
terian clergyman, Master Holdenough, who had issued from the 
apartment which he had occupied, as it were in defiance of the 
spirits by whom the mansion was supposed to be disturbed, 
and whose pale cheek, and pensive brow, gave token that he 
had not passed the night more comfortably than the other in- 
mates of the Lodge of Woodstock. Colonel Everard having 
offered to procure the reverend gentleman some refreshment, 
received this reply : — " This day shall I not taste food, saving 
that which we are assured of as sufficient for our sustenance, 
where it is promised that our bread shall be given us, and our 
water shall be sure. Not that I fast, in the papistical opinion 
that it adds to those merits, which are but an accumulation of 



172 



WOODSTOCK 



filthy rags ; but because I hold it needful that no grosser sus- 
tenance should this day cloud my understanding, or render less 
pure and vivid, the thanks I owe to Heaven for a most wonder- 
ful preservation." 

"Master Holdenough," said Everard, "you are, I know, 
both a good man and a bold one, and I saw you last night 
courageously go upon your sacred duty, when soldiers, and tried 
ones, seemed considerably alarmed." 

" Too courageous — too venturous," was Master Holdenough's 
reply, the boldness of whose aspect seemed completely to have 
died away. " We are frail creatures, Master Everard, and 
frailest when we think ourselves strongest. Oh, Colonel 
Everard," he added, after a pause, and as if the confidence was 
partly involuntary, " I have seen that which I shall never 
survive ! " 

"You surprise me, reverend sir," said Everard; — "may I 
request you will speak - more plainly ? I have heard some 
stories of this wild night, nay, have witnessed strange things 
myself ; but, methinks, I would be much interested in knowing 
the nature of your disturbance." 

" Sir," said the clergyman, " you are a discreet gentleman ; 
and though I would not willingly that these heretics, schismatics, 
Brownists, Muggletonians, Anabaptists, and so forth, had such 
an opportunity of triumph, as my defeat in this matter would 
have afforded them, yet with you, who have been ever a faithful 
follower of our Church, and are pledged to the good cause by 
the great National League and Covenant, surely I would be 
more open. Sit we down, therefore, and let me call for a glass 
of pure water, for as yet I feel some bodily faltering ; though, I 
thank Heaven, I am in mind resolute and composed as a merely 
mortal man may after such a vision. — They say, worthy Colonel, 
that looking on such things foretells, or causes, speedy death — 
I know not if it be true ; but if so, I only depart like the tired 
sentinel when his officer releases him from his post ; and glad 
shall I be to close these wearied eyes against the sight, and 
shut these harassed ears against the croaking, as of frogs, of 
Antinomians, and Pelagians, and Socinians, and Arminians, and 
Arians, and Nullifidians, which have come up into our England, 
like those filthy reptiles into the house of Pharaoh." 

Here one of the servants who had been summoned, entered 
with a cup of water, gazing at the same time in the face of the 
clergyman, as if his stupid grey eyes were endeavouring to 
read what tragic tale was written on his brow ; and shaking 
his empty skull as he left the room, with the air of one who was 
proud of having discovered that all was not exactly right, 
though he could not so well guess what was wrong. 

Colonel Everard invited the good man to take some refresh- 



WOODSTOCK 173 

ment more genial than the pure element, but he declined : " I 
am in some sort a champion/' he said ; " and though I have 
been foiled in the late controversy with the Enemy, still I have 
my trumpet to give the alarm, and my sharp sword to smite 
withal ; therefore, like the Nazarites of old, I will eat nothing 
that cometh of the vine, neither drink wine nor strong drink, 
until these my days of combat shall have passed away." 

Kindly and respectfully the Colonel anew pressed Master 
Holdenough to communicate the events that had befallen 
him on the preceding night ; and the good clergyman pro- 
ceeded as follows, with that little characteristical touch of vanity 
in his narrative, which naturally arose out of the part he had 
played in the world, and the influence which he had exercised 
over the minds of others. " I was a young man at the Uni- 
versity of Cambridge," he said, " when I was particularly bound 
in friendship to a fellow-student, perhaps because we were 
esteemed (though it is vain to mention it) the most hopeful 
scholars at our college ; and so equally advanced, that it was 
difficult, perhaps, to say which was the greater proficient in 
his studies. Only our tutor, Master Purefoy, used to say, that 
if my comrade had the advantage of me in gifts, I had the 
better of him in grace ; for he was attached to the profane 
learning of the classics, always unprofitable, often impious and 
impure; and I had light enough to turn my studies into the 
sacred tongues. Also we differed in our opinions touching the 
Church of England, for he held Arminian opinions, with Laud, 
and those who would connect our ecclesiastical establishment 
with the civil, and make the Church dependent on the breath 
of an earthly man. In fine, he favoured Prelacy both in 
essentials and ceremonial; and although we parted with tears 
and embraces, it was to follow very different courses. He 
obtained a living, and became a great controversial writer in 
behalf of the Bishops and of the Court. I also, as is well known 
to you, to the best of my poor abilities, sharpened my pen in 
the cause of the poor oppressed people, whose tender consciences 
rejected the rites and ceremonies more befitting a papistical 
than a reformed Church, and which, according to the blinded 
policy of the Court, were enforced by pains and penalties. Then 
came the Civil War, and I — called thereunto by my conscience, 
and nothing fearing or suspecting what miserable consequences 
have chanced through the rise of these Independents — con- 
sented to lend my countenance and labour to the great work, 
by becoming chaplain to Colonel Harrison's regiment. Not 
that I mingled with carnal weapons in the field — which Heaven 
forbid that a minister of the altar should — but I preached, 
exhorted, and, in time of need, was a surgeon, as well to the 
wounds of the body as of the soul. Now, it fell, towards the 



i74 WOODSTOCK 

end of the war, that a party of malignants had seized on a strong 
house in the shire of Shrewsbury, situated on a small island, 
advanced into a lake, and accessible only by a small and narrow 
causeway. From thence they made excursions, and vexed the 
country ; and high time it was to suppress them, so that a part 
of our regiment went to reduce them ; and I was requested to 
go, for they were few in number to take in so strong a place, 
and the Colonel judged that my exhortations would make them 
do valiantly. And so, contrary to my wont, I went forth with 
them, even to the field, where there was valiant fighting on both 
sides. Nevertheless, the malignants shooting their wall-pieces 
at us, had so much the advantage, that, after bursting their 
gates with a salvo of our cannon, Colonel ■ Harrison ordered his 
men to advance on the causeway, and try to carry the place by 
storm. Natheless, although our men did valiantly, advancing 
in good order, yet being galled on every side by the fire, they at 
length fell into disorder, and were retreating with much loss, 
Harrison himself valiantly bringing up the rear, and defending 
them as he could against the enemy, who sallied forth in pursuit 
of them, to smite them hip and thigh. Now, Colonel Everard, 
I am a man of a quick and vehement temper by nature, though 
better teaching than the old law hath made me mild and patient 
as you now see me. I could not bear to see our Israelites flying 
before the Philistines, so I rushed upon the causeway, with the 
Bible in one hand, and a halberd, which I had caught up, in 
the other, and turned back the foremost fugitives, by threaten- 
ing to strike them down, pointing out to them at the same 
time a priest in his cassock, as they call it, who was among the 
malignants, and asking them whether they would not do as 
much for a true servant of Heaven, as the uncircumcised would 
for a priest of Baal. My words and strokes prevailed ; they 
turned at once, and shouting out, Down with Baal and his 
worshippers ! they charged the malignants so unexpectedly 
home, that they not only drove them back into their house of 
garrison, but entered it with them, as the phrase is, pell-mell. 
I also was there, partly hurried on by the crowd, partly to pre- 
vail on our enraged soldiers to give quarter ; for it grieved my 
heart to see Christians and Englishmen hashed down with swords 
and gunstocks, like curs in the street, when there is an alarm 
of mad-dogs. In this way the soldiers fighting and slaughter- 
ing, and I calling to them to stay their hand, we gained the 
very roof of the building, which was in part leaded, and to 
which, as a last tower of refuge, those of the cavaliers, who yet 
escaped, had retired. I was myself, I may say, forced up the 
narrow winding staircase by our soldiers, who rushed on like 
dogs of chase upon their prey ; and when extricated from the 
passage, I found myself in the midst of a horrid scene. The 



WOODSTOCK 



i75 



scattered defenders were, some resisting with the fury of de- 
spair ; some on their knees, imploring for compassion in words 
and tones to break a man's heart when he thinks on them ; 
some were calling on God for mercy ; and it was time, for man 
had none. They were stricken down, thrust through, flung 
from the battlements into the lake ; and the wild cries of the 
victors, mingled with the groans, shrieks, and clamours of the 
vanquished, made a sound so horrible, that only death can erase 
it from my memory. And the men who butchered their fellow- 
creatures thus, were neither pagans from distant savage lands, 
nor ruffians, the refuse and offscourings of our own people. They 
were in calm blood reasonable, nay, religious men, maintaining 
a fair repute both heavenward and earthward. Oh, Master 
Everard, your trade of war should be feared and avoided, 
since it converts such men into wolves towards their fellow- 
creatures ! " 

" It is a stern necessity," said Everard, looking down, " and 
as such alone is justifiable. But proceed, reverend sir ; I see not 
how this storm, an incident but e'en too frequent on both sides 
during the late war, connects with the affair of last night." 

"You shall here anon," said Mr. Holdenough ; then paused 
as one who makes an effort to compose himself before continu- 
ing a relation, the tenor of which agitated him with much 
violence. — " In this infernal tumult," he resumed, — " for surely 
nothing on earth could so much resemble hell, as when men go 
thus loose in mortal malice on their fellow-creatures, — I saw 
the same priest whom I had distinguished on the causeway, 
with one or two other malignants, pressed into a corner by the 
assailants, and defending themselves to the last, as those who 
had no hope. — I saw him — I knew him — Oh, Colonel Everard ! " 

He grasped Everard's hand with his own left hand, and 
pressed the palm of his right to his face and forehead, sobbing 
aloud. 

" It was your college companion ? " said Everard, anticipating 
the catastrophe. 

" Mine ancient — mine only friend — with whom I had spent 
the happy days of youth ! — I rushed forward — I struggled — I 
entreated. — But my eagerness left me neither voice nor lan- 
guage — all was drowned in the wretched cry which I had 
myself raised — Down with the priest of Baal — Slay Mattan — 
slay him were he between the altars ! — Forced over the battle- 
m'ents, but struggling for life, I could see him cling to one of 
those projections which were formed to carry the water from 
the leads, but they hacked at his arms and hands. I heard the 
heavy fall into the bottomless abyss below. Excuse me — I 
cannot go on." 

"He may have escaped." 



176 WOODSTOCK 




" Oh ! no, no, no — the tower was four stories in height. 
Even those who threw themselves into the lake from the lower 
windows, to escape by swimming, had no safety ; for mounted 
troopers on the shore caught the same bloodthirsty humour 
which had seized the storming party, galloped around the 
margin of the lake, and shot those who were struggling for life 
in the water, or cut them down as they strove to get to land. 
They were all cut off and destroyed. — Oh ! may the blood shed 
on that day remain silent ! Oh ! that the earth may receive it 
in her recessses ! — Oh ! that it may be mingled for ever with 
the dark waters of that lake, so that it may never cry for 
vengeance against those whose anger was fierce, and who 
slaughtered in their wrath ! — And, oh ! may the erring man be 
forgiven who came into their assembly, and lent his voice to 
encourage their cruelty ! — Oh ! Albany, my brother, my brother, 
I have lamented for thee even as David for Jonathan ! " 

The good man sobbed aloud, and so much did Colonel 
Everard sympathise with his emotions, that he forbore to 
press him upon the subject of his own curiosity until the full 
tide of remorseful passion had for the time abated. It was, 
however, fierce and agitating, the more so, perhaps, that indul- 
gence in strong mental feeling of any kind was foreign to the 
severe and ascetic character of the man, and was therefore the 
more overpowering when it had at once surmounted all re- 
straints. Large tears flowed down the trembling features of 
his thin, and usually stern, or at least austere countenance ; 
he eagerly returned, the compression of Everard' s hand, as if 
thankful for the sympathy which the caress implied. 

Presently after, Master Holdenough wiped his eyes, withdrew 
his hand gently from that of Everard, shaking it kindly as they 
parted, and proceeded with more composure : " Forgive me this 
burst of passionate feeling, worthy Colonel. I am conscious it 
little becomes a man of my cloth, who should be the bearer of 
consolation to others, to give way in mine own person to an 
extremity of grief, weak at least, if indeed it is not sinful ; for 
what are we, that we should weep and murmur touching that 
which is permitted ? But Albany was to me as a brother. The 
happiest days of my life, ere my call to mingle myself in the 
strife of the land had awakened me to my duties, were spent in 
his company. I — but I will make the rest of my story short." 
— Here he drew his chair close to that of Everard, and spoke 
in a solemn and mysterious tone of voice, almost lowered to a 
whisper — " I saw him last night." 

" Saw him — saw whom ? " said Everard. u Can you mean the 
person whom " 

" Whom I saw so ruthlessly slaughtered," said the clergyman 
— "My ancient college friend — Joseph Albany." 



WOODSTOCK 



177 



" Master Holdenough, your cloth and your character alike 
must prevent your jesting on such a subject as this/' 

"Jesting!" answered Holdenough ; "I would as soon jest 
on my deathbed — as soon jest upon the Bible." 

" But you must have been deceived," answered Everard 
hastily ; " this tragical story necessarily often returns to your 
mind, and in moments when the imagination overcomes the 
evidence of the outward senses, your fancy must have presented 
to you an unreal appearance. Nothing more likely, when the 
mind is on the stretch after something supernatural, than that the 
imagination should supply the place with a chimera, while the 
over-excited feelings render it difficult to dispel the delusion." 

"Colonel Everard," replied Holdenough with austerity, "in 
discharge of my duty I must not fear the face of man ; and, 
therefore, I tell you plainly, as I have done before with more 
observance, that when you bring your carnal learning and 
judgment, as it is but too much your nature to do, to investigate 
the hidden things of another world, you might as well measure 
with the palm of your hand the waters of the Isis. Indeed, 
good sir, you err in this, and give men too much pretence 
to confound your honourable name with witch-advocates, free- 
thinkers, and atheists, even with such as this man Bletson, 
who, if the discipline of the church had its hand strengthened, 
as it was in the beginning of the great conflict, would have been 
long ere now cast out of the pale, and delivered over to the 
punishment of the flesh, that his spirit might, if possible, be yet 
saved." 

" You mistake, Master Holdenough," said Colonel Everard ; 
" I do not deny the existence of such preternatural visitations, 
because I cannot, and dare not, raise the voice of my own 
opinion against the testimony of ages, supported by such learned 
men as yourself. Nevertheless, though I grant the possibility 
of such things, I have scarce yet heard of an instance in my 
days so well fortified by evidence, that I could at once and dis- 
tinctly say, This must have happened by supernatural agency, 
and not otherwise." 

"Hear, then, what I have to tell," said the divine, "on the 
faith of a man, a Christian, and, what is more, a servant of our 
Holy Church ; and, therefore, though unworthy, an elder and 
a teacher among Christians. I had taken my post yester evening 
in the half-furnished apartment, wherein hangs a huge mirror, 
which might have served Goliath of Gath to have admired him- 
self in, when clothed from head to foot in his brazen armour. 
I the rather chose this place, because they informed me it was 
the nearest habitable room to the gallery in which they say you 
had been yourself assailed that evening by the Evil One — Was 
it so, I pray you ? " 



i 7 8 



WOODSTOCK 



u By some one with no good intentions I was assailed in that 
apartment. So far/' said Colonel Everard, " you were correctly 
informed." 

" Well, I chose my post as well as I might, even as a resolved 
general approaches his camp, and casts up his mound as nearly 
as he can to the besieged city. And, of a truth, Colonel 
Everard, if I felt some sensation of bodily fear, — for even Elias, 
and the prophets, who commanded the elements, had a portion 
in our frail nature, much more such a poor sinful being as my- 
self, — yet was my hope and my courage high ; and I thought of 
the texts which I might use, not in the wicked sense of periapts, 
or spells, as the blinded papists employ them, together with the 
sign of the cross and other fruitless forms, but as nourishing and 
supporting that true trust and confidence in the blessed promises, 
being the true shield of faith wherewith the fiery darts of Satan 
may be withstood and quenched. And thus armed and pre- 
pared, I sat me down to read, at the same time to write, that I 
might compel my mind to attend to those subjects which became 
the situation in which I was placed, as preventing any unlicensed 
excursions of the fancy, and leaving no room for my imagination 
to brood over idle fears. So I methodised, and wrote down what 
I thought meet for the time, and peradventure some hungry 
souls may yet profit by the food which I then prepared." 

"It was wisely and worthily done, good and reverend sir," 
replied Colonel Everard. " I pray you to proceed." 

"While I was thus employed, sir, and had been upon the 
matter for about three hours, not yielding to weariness, a 
strange thrilling came over my senses, and the large and old- 
fashioned apartment seemed to wax larger, more gloomy, and 
more cavernous, while the air of the night grew more cold and 
chill. I know not if it was that the fire began to decay, or 
whether there cometh before such things as were then about to 
happen, a breath and atmosphere, as it were, of terror, as Job 
saith in a well-known passage, f Fear came upon me, and 
trembling, which made my bones to shake ; ' and there was a 
tingling noise in my ears, and a dizziness in my brain, so that 
I felt like those who call for aid when there is no danger, and 
was even prompted to flee, when I saw no one to pursue. It 
was then that something seemed to pass behind me, casting a 
reflection on the great mirror before which I had placed my 
writing-table, and which I saw by assistance of the large stand- 
ing light which was then in front of the glass. And I looked 
up, and I saw in the glass distinctly the appearance of a man — 
as sure as these words issue from my mouth, it was no other 
than the same Joseph Albany — the companion of my youth — 
he whom I had seen precipitated down the battlements of 
Clidesthrough Castle into the deep lake below ! " 



WOODSTOCK 



179 



" What did you do ? " 

"It suddenly rushed on my mind/' said the divine, "that 
the stoical philosopher Athenodorus had eluded the horrors of 
such a vision by patiently pursuing his studies ; and it shot at 
the same time across my mind, that I, a Christian divine, and a 
Steward of the Mysteries, had less reason to fear evil, and better 
matter on which to employ my thoughts, than was possessed 
by a Heathen, who was blinded even by his own wisdom. So, 
instead of betraying any alarm, or even turning my head around, 
I pursued my writing, but with a beating heart, I admit, and 
with a throbbing hand." 

" If you could write at all," said the Colonel, " with such an 
impression on your mind, you may take the head of the English 
army for dauntless resolution." 

" Our courage is not our own, Colonel," said the divine, '* and 
not as ours should it be vaunted of. And again, when you 
speak of this strange vision as an impression on my fancy, and 
not a reality obvious to my senses, let me tell you once more, 
your worldly wisdom is but foolishness touching the things that 
are not worldly." 

" Did you not look again upon the mirror ? " said the Colonel. 

" I did, when I had copied out the comfortable text, ' Thou 
shalt tread down Satan under thy feet.' " 

" And what did you then see ? " 

"The reflection of the same Joseph Albany," said Hold- 
enough, " passing slowly as from behind my chair — the same in 
member and lineament that I had known him in his youth, 
excepting that his cheek had the marks of the more advanced 
age at which he died, and was very pale." 

u What did you then ? " 

"I turned from the glass, and plainly saw the figure which 
had made the reflection in the mirror retreating towards the 
door, not fast, nor slow, but with a gliding steady pace. It 
turned again when near the door, and again showed me its 
pale, ghastly countenance, before it disappeared. But how it 
left the room, whether by the door, or otherwise, my spirits 
were too much hurried to remark exactly ; nor have I been able, 
by any effort of recollection, distinctly to remember." 

"This is a strange, and, as coming from you, a most excel- 
lently well-attested apparition," answered Everard. "And yet, 
Master Holdenough, if the other world has been actually dis- 
played, as you apprehend, and I will not dispute the possibility, 
assure yourself there are also wicked men concerned in these 
machinations. I myself have undergone some rencontres with 
visitants who possessed bodily strength, and wore, I am sure, 
earthly weapons." 

u Oh ! doubtless, doubtless," replied Master Holdenough ; 



i8o 



WOODSTOCK 



"Beelzebub loves to charge with horse and foot mingled, as 
was the fashion of the old Scottish general, Davie Leslie. He 
has his devils in the body as well as his devils disembodied, and 
uses the one to support and back the other." 

" It may be as you say, reverend sir," answered the Colonel. 
— " But what do you advise in this case ? " 

" For that I must consult with my brethren," said the divine ; 
"and if there be but left in our borders five ministers of the 
true kirk, we will charge Satan in full body, and you shall see 
whether we have not power over him to resist till he shall 
flee from us. But failing that ghostly armament against these 
strange and unearthly enemies, truly I would recommend, that 
as a house of witchcraft and abomination, this polluted den of 
ancient tyranny and prostitution should be totally consumed by 
fire, lest Satan, establishing his head-quarters so much to his 
mind, should find a garrison and a fastness from which he might 
sally forth to infest the whole neighbourhood. Certain it is, 
that I would recommend to no Christian soul to inhabit the 
mansion ; and, if deserted, it would become a place for wizards 
to play their pranks, and witches to establish their Sabbath, 
and those who, like Demas, go about after the wealth of this 
world, seeking for gold and silver to practise spells and charms 
to the prejudice of the souls of the covetous. Trust me, there- 
fore, it were better that it were spoiled and broken down, not 
leaving one stone upon another." 

" I say nay to that, my good friend," said the Colonel ; " for 
the Lord-General hath permitted, by his licence, my mother's 
brother, Sir Henry Lee, and his family, to return into the house 
of his fathers, being indeed the only roof under which he hath 
any chance of obtaining shelter for his grey hairs." 

" And was this done by your advice, Markham Everard ? " 
said the divine austerely. 

"Certainly it was," returned the Colonel. — "And wherefore 
should I not exert mine influence to obtain a place of refuge for 
the brother of my mother ? " 

"Now, as sure as thy soul liveth," answered the presbyter, 
" I had believed this from no tongue but thine own. Tell me, 
was it not this very Sir Henry Lee, who, by the force of his 
buffcoats and his green-jerkins, enforced the papist Laud's order 
to remove the altar to the eastern end of the church at Wood- 
stock ? — and did not he swear by his beard, that he would hang 
in the very street of Woodstock whoever should deny to drink 
the King's health ? — and is not his hand red with the blood of 
the saint's ? — and hath there been a ruffler in the field for prelacy 
and high prerogative more unmitigable or fiercer?" 

"All this may have been as you say, good Master Hold- 
enough," answered the Colonel; "but my uncle is now old and 



WOODSTOCK 



181 



feeble, and hath scarce a single follower remaining, and his 
daughter is a being whom to look upon would make the sternest 
weep for pity ; a being who " 

" Who is dearer to Everard," said Holdenough, " than his 
good name, his faith to his friends, his duty to his religion ; — 
this is no time to speak with sugared lips. The paths in which 
you tread are dangerous. You are striving to raise the papistical 
candlestick which Heaven in its justice removed out of its place 
— to bring back to this hall of sorceries those very sinners who 
are bewitched with them. I will not permit the land to be 
abused by their witchcrafts. — They shall not come hither." 

He spoke this with vehemence, and striking his stick against 
the ground ; and the Colonel, very much dissatisfied, began to 
express himself haughtily in return. " You had better consider 
your power to accomplish your threats, Master Holdenough," he 
said, " before you urge them so peremptorily." 

" And have I not the power to bind and to loose ? " said the 
clergyman. 

" It is a power little available, save over those of your own 
Church," said Everard, with a tone something contemptuous. 

"Take heed — take heed," said the divine, who, though an 
excellent, was, as we have elsewhere seen, an irritable man. — 
" Do not insult me ; but think honourably of the messenger, 
for the sake of Him whose commission he carries. — Do not, I 
say, defy me — I am bound to discharge my duty, were it to the 
displeasing of my twin brother." 

" I can see nought your office has to do in the matter," said 
Colonel Everard ; " and I, on my side, give you warning not to 
attempt to meddle beyond your commission." 

" Right — you hold me already to be as submissive as one of 
your grenadiers," replied the clergyman, his acute features 
trembling with a sense of indignity, so as even to agitate his 
grey hair ; " but beware, sir, I am not so powerless as you sup- 
pose. I will invoke every true Christian in Woodstock to gird 
up his loins, and resist the restoration of prelacy, oppression, 
and malignancy within our borders. I will stir up the wrath 
of the righteous against the oppressor — the Ishmaelite — the 
Edomite — and against his race, and against those who support 
him and encourage him to rear up his horn. I will call aloud, 
and spare not, and arouse the many whose love hath waxed 
cold, and the multitude who care for none of these things. 
There shall be a remnant to listen to me ; and I will take the 
stick of Joseph, which was in the hand of Ephraim, and go 
down to cleanse this place of witches and sorcerers, and of en- 
chantments, and will cry and exhort, saying — Will you plead 
for Baal ? — will you serve him ? Nay, take the prophets of 
Baal — let not a man escape ! " 



182 



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"Master Holdenough, Master Holdenough," said Colonel 
Everard, with much impatience, " by the tale yourself told me, 
you have exhorted upon that text once too often already." 

The old man struck his palm forcibly against his forehead, 
and fell back into a chair as these words were uttered, as sud- 
denly, and as much without power of resistance, as if the Colonel 
had fired a pistol through his head. Instantly regretting the 
reproach which he had suffered to escape him in his impatience. 
Everard hastened to apologise, and to offer every conciliatory 
excuse, however inconsistent, which occurred to him on the 
moment. But the old man was too deeply affected — he rejected 
his hand, lent no ear to what he said, and finally started up, 
saying sternly, "You have abused my confidence, sir — abused 
it vilely, to turn it into my own reproach : had I been a man 
of the sword, you dared not — But enjoy your triumph, sir, over 
an old man, and your father's friend — strike at the wound his 
imprudent confidence showed you." 

" Nay, my worthy and excellent friend," said the Colonel 

" Friend ! " answered the old man, starting up — " We are 
foes, sir — foes now, and for ever ! " 

So saying, and starting from the seat into which he had 
rather fallen than thrown himself, he ran out of the room with 
a precipitation of step which he was apt to use upon occasions 
of irritable feeling, and which was certainly more eager than 
dignified, especially as he muttered while he ran, and seemed 
as if he were keeping up his own passion, by recounting over 
and over the offence which he had received. 

" Soh ! " said Colonel Everard, * and there was not strife 
enough between mine uncle and the people of Woodstock 
already, but I must needs increase it, by chafing this irritable 
and quick-tempered old man, eager as I knew him to be in his 
ideas of church-government, and stiff in his prejudices respect- 
ing all who dissent from him ! The mob of Woodstock will 
rise ; for though he would not get a score of them to stand by 
him in any honest or intelligible purpose, yet let him cry havoc 
and destruction, and I will warrant he has followers enow. 
And my uncle is equally wild and unpersuadable. For the 
value of all the estate he ever had, he would not allow a score 
of troopers to be quartered in the house for defence ; and if he 
be alone, or has but Joceline to stand by him, he will be as 
sure to fire upon those who come to attack the Lodge, as if he 
had a hundred men in garrison ; and then what can chance 
but danger and bloodshed ? " 

This progress of melancholy anticipation was interrupted by 
the return of Master Holdenough, who, hurrying into the room, 
with the same precipitate pace at which he had left it, ran 
straight up to the Colonel, and said, " Take my hand, Markham 



WOODSTOCK 183 

— take my hand hastily ; for the old Adam is whispering at 
my heart, that it is a disgrace to hold it extended so long." 

" Most heartily do I receive your hand, my venerable friend," 
said Everard, u and I trust in sign of renewed amity." 

" Surely, surely," — said the divine, shaking his hand kindly ; 
"thou hast, it is true, spoken bitterly, but thou hast spoken 
truth in good time ; and I think — though your words were 
severe — with a good and kindly purpose. Verily, and of a 
truth, it were sinful in me again to be hasty in provoking 
violence, remembering that which you have upbraided me 
with " 

« Forgive me, good Master Holdenough," said Colonel 
Everard, " it was a hasty word ; I meant not in serious earnest 
to upbraid." 

" Peace, I pray you, peace," said the divine ; " I say, the 
allusion to that which you have most justly upbraided me with 
— though the charge aroused the gall of the old man within 
me, the inward tempter being ever on the watch to bring us to 
his lure — ought, instead of being resented, to have been ac- 
knowledged by me as a favour, for so are the wounds of a friend 
termed faithful. And surely I, who have by one unhappy 
exhortation to battle and strife sent the living to the dead — 
and I fear brought back even the dead among the living — should 
now study peace and goodwill, and reconciliation of difference, 
leaving punishment to the Great Being whose laws are broken, 
and vengeance to Him who hath said, I will repay it." 

The old man's mortified features lighted up with a humble 
confidence as he made this acknowledgment ; and Colonel 
Everard, who knew the constitutional infirmities, and the early 
prejudices of professional consequence and exclusive party 
opinion, which he must have subdued ere arriving at such a 
tone of candour, hastened to express his admiration of his 
Christian charity, mingled with reproaches on himself for 
having so deeply injured his feelings. 

" Think not of it — think not of it, excellent young man," 
said Holdenough ; " we have both erred — I in suffering my 
zeal to outrun my charity, you perhaps in pressing hard on an 
old and peevish man, who had so lately poured out his suffer- 
ings into your friendly bosom. Be it all forgotten. Let your 
friends, if they are not deterred by what has happened at this 
manor of Woodstock, resume their habitation as soon as they 
will. If they can protect themselves against the powers of the 
air, believe me, that if I can prevent it by aught in my power, 
they shall have no annoyance from earthly neighbours ; and 
assure yourself, good sir, that my voice is still worth something 
with the worthy Mayor, and the good Aldermen, and the better 
sort of housekeepers up yonder in the town, although the lower 



WOODSTOCK 



classes are blown about with every wind of doctrine. And yet 
farther, be assured, Colonel, that should your mother's brother, 
or any of his family, learn that they have taken up a rash bar- 
gain in returning to this unhappy and unhallowed house, or 
should they find any qualms in their own hearts and consciences 
which require a ghostly comforter, Nehemiah Holdenough will 
be as much at their command by night or day, as if they had 
been bred up within the holy pale of the Church in which he is 
an unworthy minister ; and neither the awe of what is fearful 
to be seen within these walls, nor his knowledge of their blinded 
and carnal state, as bred up under a prelatic dispensation, shall 
prevent him doing what lies in his poor abilities for their pro- 
tection and edification." 

" I feel all the force of your kindness, reverend sir," said 
Colonel Everard, " but I do not think it likely that my uncle 
will give you trouble on either score. He is a man much 
accustomed to be his own protector in temporal danger, and in 
spiritual doubts to trust to his own prayers and those of his 
Church." 

* I trust I have not been superfluous in offering mine assist- 
ance," said the old man, something jealous that his proffered 
spiritual aid had been held rather intrusive. " I ask pardon if 
that is the case, I humbly ask pardon — I would not willingly 
be superfluous." 

The Colonel hastened to appease this new alarm of the 
watchful jealousy of his consequence, which, joined with a 
natural heat of temper which he could not always subdue, were 
the good man's only faults. 

They had regained their former friendly footing, when 
Roger Wildrake returned from the hut of Joceline, and 
whispered his master that his embassy had been successful. 
The Colonel then addressed the divine, and informed him, that 
as the Commissioners had already given up Woodstock, and 
as his uncle, Sir Henry Lee, proposed to return to the Lodge 
about noon, he would, if his reverence pleased, attend him up 
to the borough. 

"Will you not tarry," said the reverend man, with some- 
thing like inquisitive apprehension in his voice, " to welcome 
your relatives upon their return to this their house ?" 

"No, my good friend," said Colonel Everard; "the part 
which I have taken in these unhappy broils, perhaps also the 
mode of worship in which I have been educated, have so pre- 
judiced me in mine uncle's opinion, that I must be for some 
time a stranger to his house and family." 

" Indeed ! I rejoice to hear it with all my heart and soul," 
said the divine. " Excuse my frankness — I do indeed rejoice ; 
I had thought — no matter what I had thought ; I would not 



WOODSTOCK 185 

again give offence. But truly though the maiden hath a 
pleasant feature, and he, as all men say, is in human things 
unexceptionable, yet, — but I give you pain — in sooth, I will 
say no more unless you ask my sincere and unprejudiced 
advice, which you shall command, but which I will not press 
on you superfluously. Wend we to the borough together — the 
pleasant solitude of the forest may dispose us to open our hearts 
to each other." 

They did walk up to the little town in company, and, some- 
what to Master Holdenough's surprise, the Colonel, though they 
talked on various subjects, did not request of him any ghostly 
advice on the subject of his love to his fair cousin, while, greatly 
beyond the expectation of the soldier, the clergyman kept his 
word, and in his own phrase, was not so superfluous as to offer 
upon so delicate a point his unasked counsel. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

Then are the harpies gone — Yet ere we perch 
Where such foul birds have roosted, let us cleanse 
The foul obscenity they've left behind them. 

—Agamemnon. 

The embassy of Wildrake had been successful, chiefly through 
the mediation of the Episcopal divine, whom we formerly found 
acting in the character of a chaplain to the family, and whose 
voice had great influence on many accounts with its master. 

A little before high noon, Sir Henry Lee, with his small 
household, were again in unchallenged possession of their old 
apartments at the Lodge of Woodstock ; and the combined 
exertions of Joceline Joliffe, of Phoebe, and of old Joan, were 
employed in putting to rights what the late intruders had left 
in great disorder. 

Sir Henry Lee had, like all persons of quality of that period, 
a love of order amounting to precision, and felt, like a fine lady 
whose dress has been disordered in a crowd, insulted and 
humiliated by the rude confusion into which his household 
goods had been thrown, and impatient till his mansion was 
purified from all marks of intrusion. In his anger he uttered 
more orders than the ' limited number of his domestics were 
likely to find time or hands to execute. " The villains have 
left such sulphureous steams behind them, too," said the old 
knight, "as if old Davie Leslie and the whole Scottish army 
had quartered among them." 

* It may be near as bad," said Joceline, u for men say, for 



186 



WOODSTOCK 



certain, it was the Devil came down bodily among them, and 
made them troop off." 

" Then/' said the knight, " is the Prince of Darkness a 
gentleman, as old Will Shakspeare says. He never interferes 
with those of his own coat, for the Lees have been here, father 
and son, these five hundred years, without disquiet ; and no 
sooner came these misbegotten churls, than he plays his own 
part among them." 

"Well, one thing he and they have left us/' said Joliffe, 
" which we may thank them for ; and that is, such a well-filled 
larder and buttery as has been seldom seen in Woodstock Lodge 
this many a day : carcasses of mutton, large rounds of beef, 
barrels of confectioners' ware, pipes and runlets of sack, mus- 
cadine, ale, and what not. We shall have a royal time on't 
through half the winter ; and Joan must get to salting and 
pickling presently." 

u Out, villain ! " said the knight ; " are we to feed on the frag- 
ments of such scum of the earth as these ? Cast them forth 
instantly ! Nay," checking himself, " that were a sin ; but 
give them to the poor, or see them sent to the owners. And, 
hark ye, I will none of their strong liquors. I would rather 
drink like a hermit all my life, than seem to pledge such scoun- 
drels as these in their leavings, like a miserable drawer, who 
drains off the ends of the bottles after the guests have paid 
their reckoning, and gone off. And, hark ye, I will taste no 
water from the cistern out of which these slaves have been 
serving themselves — fetch me down a pitcher from Rosamond's 
spring." 

Alice heard this injunction, and well guessing there was 
enough for the other members of the family to do, she quietly 
took a small pitcher, and flinging a cloak around her, walked 
out in person to procure Sir Henry the water which he desired. 
Meantime, Joceline said, with some hesitation, "that a man 
still remained, belonging to the party of these strangers, who 
was directing about the removal of some trunks and mails 
which belonged to the Commissioners, and who could receive 
his honour's commands about the provisions." 

"Let him come hither." (The dialogue was held in the 
hall.) "Why do you hesitate and drumble in that manner?" 

" Only, sir," said Joceline, " only perhaps your honour might 
not wish to see him, being the same who, not long since " 

He paused. 

"Sent my rapier a-hawking through the firmament, thou 
wouldst say ? Why, when did I take spleen at a man for 
standing his ground against me ? Roundhead as he is, man, 
I like him the better of that, not the worse. I hunger and 
thirst to have another turn with him. I have thought on his 



WOODSTOCK 187 

passado ever since, and I believe, were it to try again, I know 
a feat would control it. Fetch him directly." 

Trusty Tomkins was presently ushered in, bearing himself 
with an iron gravity, which neither the terrors of the preceding 
night, nor the dignified demeanour of the high-born personage 
before whom he stood, were able for an instant to overcome. 

" How now, good fellow ? " said Sir Henry ; " I would fain 
see something more of thy fence, which baffled me the other 
evening ; but truly, I think the light was somewhat too faint 
for my old eyes. Take a foil, man — I walk here in the hall, 
as Hamlet says ; and 'tis the breathing time of day with me. 
Take a foil, then, in thy hand." 

tf Since it is your worship's desire," said the steward, letting 
fall his long cloak, and taking the foil in his hand. 

"Now," said the knight, "if your fitness speaks, mine is 
ready. Methinks the very stepping on this same old pavement 
hath charmed away the gout which threatened me. Sa — sa — 
I tread as firm as a game-cock." 

They began the play with great spirit ; and whether the 
old knight really fought more coolly with the blunt than with 
the sharp weapon, or whether the steward gave him some grains 
of advantage in this merely sportive encounter, it is certain 
Sir Henry had the better in the assault. His success put him 
into excellent humour. 

" There," said he, " I found your trick — nay, you cheat me 
not twice the same way. There was a very palpable hit. Why, 
had I had but light enough the other night — But it skills not 
speaking of it — Here we leave off. I must not fight, as we 
unwise cavaliers did with you roundhead rascals, beating you 
so often that we taught you to beat us at last. And good now, 
tell me why you are leaving your larder so full here ? Do you 
think I or my family can use broken victuals ? What, have 
you no better employment for your rounds of sequestrated beef 
than to leave them behind you when you shift your quarters ? " 

" So please your honour," said Tomkins, " it may be that you 
desire not the flesh of beeves, of rams, or of goats. Neverthe- 
less, when you know that the provisions were provided and 
paid for out of your own rents and stock at Ditchley, seques- 
trated to the use of the state more than a year since, it may 
be you will have less scruple to use them for your own be- 
hoof." 

" Rest assured that I shall," said Sir Henry ; " and glad you 
have helped me to a share of mine own. Certainly I was an 
ass to suspect your masters of subsisting, save at honest men's 
expense." 

" And as for the rumps of beeves," continued Tomkins, with 
the same solemnity, "there is a rump at Westminster, which 



1 88 WOODSTOCK 

will stand us of the army much hacking and hewing yet, ere it 
is discussed to our mind." 

Sir Henry paused, as if to consider what was the meaning of 
this innuendo; for he was not a person of very quick appre- 
hension. But having at length caught the meaning of it, he 
burst into an explosion of louder laughter than Joceline had 
seen him indulge in for a good while. 

" Right, knave," he said, " I taste thy jest — It is the very 
moral of the puppet-show. Faustus raised the devil, as the 
Parliament raised the army, and then, as the devil flies away 
with Faustus, so will the army fly away with the Parliament, 
or the rump, as thou call'st it, or sitting part of the so-called 
Parliament. And then, look you, friend, the very devil of all 
hath my willing consent to fly away with the army in its turn, 
from the highest general down to the lowest drum-boy. Nay, 
never look fierce for the matter ; remember there is daylight 
enough now for a game at sharps." 

Trusty Tomkins appeared to think it best to suppress his 
displeasure ; and observing that the wains were ready to tran- 
sport the Commissioners' property to the borough, took a grave 
leave of Sir Henry Lee. 

Meantime the old man continued to pace his recovered hall, 
rubbing his hands, and evincing greater signs of glee than he 
had shown since the fatal 30th of January. 

Here we are again in the old frank, Joliffe ; well victualled 
too. How the knave solved my point of conscience ! — the 
dullest of them is a special casuist where the question concerns 
profit. Look out if there are not some of our own ragged 
regiment lurking about, to whom a bellyful would be a God- 
send, Joceline. Then his fence, Joceline, though the fellow 
foins well, very sufficient well. But thou saw'st how I dealt 
with him when I had fitting light, Joceline." 

" Ay, and so your honour did," said Joceline. " You taught him 
to know the Duke of Norfolk, from Saunders Gardner. I'll warrant 
him he will not wish to come under your honour's thumb again." 

" Why, I am waxing old," said Sir Henry ; " but skill will 
not rust through age, though sinews must stiffen. But my age 
is like a lusty winter, as old Will says, frosty but kindly ; and 
what if, old as we are, we live to see better days yet ! I promise 
thee, Joceline, I love this jarring betwixt the rogues of the 
board and the rogues of the sword. When thieves quarrel, 
true men have a chance of coming by their own." 

Thus triumphed the old cavalier, in the treble glory of 
having recovered his dwelling, — regained, as he thought, his 
character as a man of fence, and finally, discovered some pro- 
spect of a change of times, in which he was not without hopes 
that something might turn up for the royal interest. 



WOODSTOCK 189 

Meanwhile, Alice, with a prouder and a lighter heart than 
had danced in her bosom for several days, went forth with a 
gaiety to which she of late had been a stranger, to contribute 
her assistance to the regulation and supply of the household, 
by bringing the fresh water wanted from fair Rosamond's well. 

Perhaps she remembered, that when she was but a girl, her 
cousin Markham used, among others, to make her perform that 
duty, as presenting the character of some captive Trojan princess, 
condemned by her situation to draw the waters from some Gre- 
cian spring, for the use of the proud victor. At any rate, she 
certainly joyed to see her father reinstated in his ancient habi- 
tation ; and the joy was not the less sincere, that she knew 
their return to Woodstock had been procured by means of her 
cousin, and that even in her father's prejudiced eyes, Everard 
had been in some degree exculpated of the accusations the old 
knight had brought against him ; and that, if a reconciliation 
had not yet taken place, the preliminaries had been established 
on which such a desirable conclusion might easily be founded. 
It was like the commencement of a bridge ; when the founda- 
tion is securely laid, and the piers raised above the influence of 
the torrent, the throwing of the arches may be accomplished in 
a subsequent season. 

The doubtful fate of her only brother might have clouded 
even this momentary gleam of sunshine ; but Alice had been 
bred up during the close and frequent contest of civil war, and 
had acquired the habit of hoping in behalf of those dear to her, 
until hope was lost. In the present case, all reports seemed to 
assure her of her brother's safety. 

Besides these causes for gaiety, Alice Lee had the pleasing 
feeling that she was restored to the habitation and the haunts 
of her childhood, from which she had not departed without 
much pain, the more felt, perhaps, because suppressed, in order 
to avoid irritating her father's sense of his misfortune. Finally, 
she enjoyed for the instant the gleam of self-satisfaction by 
which we see the young and well-disposed so often animated, 
when they can be, in common phrase, helpful to those whom 
they love, and perform at the moment of need some of those 
little domestic tasks, which age receives with so much pleasure 
from the dutiful hands of youth. So that, altogether, as she 
hasted through the remains and vestiges of a wilderness already 
mentioned, and from thence about a bow-shot into the Park, to 
bring a pitcher of water from Rosamond's spring, Alice Lee, her 
features enlivened and her complexion a little raised by the 
exercise, had, for the moment, regained the gay and brilliant 
vivacity of expression which had been the characteristic of her 
beauty in her earlier and happier days. 

This fountain of old memory had been once adorned with 



190 WOODSTOCK 

architectural ornaments in the style of the sixteenth century, 
chiefly relating to ancient mythology. All these were now 
wasted and overthrown, and existed only as moss-covered ruins, 
while the living spring continued to furnish its daily treasures, 
unrivalled in purity, though the quantity was small, gushing out 
amid disjointed stones, and bubbling through fragments of 
ancient sculpture. 

With a light step and laughing brow the young Lady of Lee 
was approaching the fountain usually so solitary, when she 
paused on beholding some one seated beside it. She proceeded, 
however, with confidence, though with a step something less 
gay, when she observed that the person was a female; some 
menial perhaps from the town, whom a fanciful mistress occa- 
sionally despatched for the water of a spring, supposed to be 
peculiarly pure, or some aged woman, who made a little trade 
by carrying it to the better sort of families, and selling it for a 
trifle. There was no cause, therefore, for apprehension. 

Yet the terrors of the times were so great, that Alice did not 
see a stranger even of her own sex without some apprehension. 
Denaturalised women had as usual followed the camps of both 
armies during the Civil War; who, on the one side with open 
profligacy and profanity, on the other with the fraudful tone of 
fanaticism or hypocrisy, exercised nearly in like degree their 
talents, for murder or plunder. But it was broad daylight, the 
distance from the Lodge was but trifling, and though a little 
alarmed at seeing a stranger where she expected deep solitude, 
the daughter of the haughty old Knight had too much of the 
lion about her, to fear without some determined and decided 
cause. 

Alice walked, therefore, gravely on toward the fount, and 
composed her looks as she took a hasty glance of the female 
who was seated there, and addressed herself to her task of filling 
her pitcher. 

The woman, whose presence had surprised and somewhat 
startled Alice Lee, was a person of the lower rank, whose red 
cloak, russet kirtle, handkerchief trimmed with Coventry blue, 
and a coarse steeple hat, could not indicate at best anything 
higher than the wife of a small farmer, or, perhaps, the help- 
mate of a bailiff or hind. It was well if she proved nothing 
worse. Her clothes, indeed, were of good materials ; but, what 
the female eye discerns with half a glance, they were indiffe- 
rently adjusted and put on. This looked as if they did not 
belong to the person by whom they were worn, but were articles 
of which she had become the mistress by some accident, if not 
by some successful robbery. Her size, too, as did not escape 
Alice, even in the short perusal she afforded the stranger, was 
unusual ; her features swarthy and singularly harsh, and her 



WOODSTOCK 



manner altogether unpropitious. The young lady almost wished, 
as she stooped to fill her pitcher, that she had rather turned 
back, and sent Joceline on the errand ; but repentance was too 
late now, and she had only to disguise as well as she could her 
unpleasant feelings. 

" The blessings of this bright day to one as bright as it is," 
said the stranger, with no unfriendly, though a harsh voice. 

" I thank you," said Alice in reply ; and continued to fill her 
pitcher busily, by assistance of an iron bowl which remained 
still chained to one of the stones beside the fountain. 

" Perhaps, my pretty maiden, if you would accept my help, 
your work would be sooner done," said the stranger. 

" I thank you," said Alice ; " but had I needed assistance, I 
could have brought those with me who had rendered it." 

te I do not doubt of that, my pretty maiden," answered the 
female ; " there are too many lads in Woodstock with eyes in 
their heads — No doubt you could have brought with you any 
one of them who looked on you, if you had listed ? " 

Alice replied not a syllable, for she did not like the freedom 
used by the speaker, and was desirous to break off the conver- 
sation. 

" Are you offended, my pretty mistress ? " said the stranger ; 
" that was far from my purpose. — I will put my question other- 
wise. — Are the good dames of Woodstock so careless of their 
pretty daughters as to let the flower of them all wander about 
the wild chase without a mother, or a somebody to prevent the 
fox from running away with the lamb ? — that carelessness, me- 
thinks, shows small kindness." 

" Content yourself, good woman, I am not far from protection 
and assistance," said Alice, who liked less and less the effrontery 
of her new acquaintance. 

" Alas ! my pretty maiden," said the stranger, patting with 
her large and hard hand the head which Alice had kept bended 
down towards the water which she was laving, "it would be 
difficult to hear such a pipe as yours at the town of Woodstock, 
scream as loud as you would." 

Alice shook the woman's hand angrily off, took up her pitcher, 
though not above half full, and as she saw the stranger rise at 
the same time, said, not without fear, doubtless, but with a natural 
feeling of resentment and dignity, " I have no reason to make 
my cries heard as far as Woodstock ; were there occasion for 
my crying for help at all, it is nearer at hand." 

She spoke not without a warrant ; for, at the moment, broke 
through the bushes, and stood by her side, the noble hound 
Be vis ; fixing on the stranger his eyes that glanced fire, raising 
every hair on his gallant mane as upright as the bristles of a 
wild boar when hard pressed, grinning till a case of teeth, which 



192 



WOODSTOCK 



would have matched those of any wolf in Russia, were displayed 
in full array, and, without either barking or springing, seeming, 
by his low determined growl, to await but the signal for dash- 
ing at the female, whom he plainly considered as a suspicious 
person. 

But the stranger was undaunted. " My pretty maiden," she 
said, "you have indeed a formidable guardian there, where 
cockneys or bumpkins are concerned ; but we who have been 
at the wars know spells for taming such furious dragons ; and 
therefore let not your four-footed protector go loose on me, for 
he is a noble animal, and nothing but self-defence would induce 
me to do him injury." So saying, she drew a pistol from her 
bosom, and cocked it — pointing it towards the dog, as if appre- 
hensive that he would spring upon her. 

"Hold, woman, hold!" said Alice Lee ; "the dog will not 
do you harm. — Down, Be vis, couch down. — And ere you attempt 
to hurt him, know he is the favourite hound of Sir Henry Lee 
of Ditchley, the keeper of Woodstock Park, who would severely 
revenge any injury offered to him." 

"And you, pretty one, are the old knight's housekeeper, 
doubtless ? I have often heard the Lees have good taste." 

" I am his daughter, good woman." 

" His daughter ! — I was blind — but yet it is true, nothing less 
perfect could answer the description which all the world has 
given of Mistress Alice Lee. I trust that my folly has given 
my young mistress no offence, and that she will allow me, in 
token of reconciliation, to fill her pitcher, and carry it as far as 
she will permit." 

" As you will, good mother ; but I am about to return instantly 
to the Lodge, to which, in these times, I cannot admit strangers. 
You can follow me no farther than the verge of the wilderness, 
and I am already too long from home : I will send some one to 
meet and relieve you of the pitcher." So saying, she turned 
her back, with a feeling of terror which she could hardly account 
for, and began to walk quickly towards the Lodge, thinking thus 
to get rid of her troublesome acquaintance. 

But she reckoned without her host ; for in a moment her new 
companion was by her side, not running, indeed, but walking 
with prodigious long unwomanly strides, which soon brought 
her up with the hurried and timid steps of the frightened 
maiden. But her manner was more respectful than formerly, 
though her voice sounded remarkably harsh and disagreeable, 
and her whole appearance suggested an undefined, yet irresistible 
feeling of apprehension. 

" Pardon a stranger, lovely Mistress Alice," said her perse- 
cutor, " that was not capable of distinguishing between a lady 
of your high quality and a peasant wench, and who spoke to 




ALICE LEE 
A E. Chalon, R.A. 



WOODSTOCK 193 

you with a degree of freedom, ill-befitting your rank, certainly, 
and condition, and which, I fear, has given you offence." 

"No offence whatever," replied Alice; "but, good woman, 
I am near home, and can excuse your farther company. — You 
are unknown to me." 

" But it follows not," said the stranger, u that your fortunes 
may not be known to me, fair Mistress Alice. Look on my 
swarthy brow — England breeds none such — and in the lands 
from which I come, the sun which blackens our complexion, 
pours, to make amends, rays of knowledge into our brains, 
which are denied to those of your lukewarm climate. Let me 
look upon your pretty hand, — [attempting to possess herself of 
it,] — and I promise you, you shall hear what will please you." 

" I hear what does not please me," said Alice with dignity ; 
"you must carry your tricks of fortune-telling and palmistry to 
the women of the village — We of the gentry hold them to be 
either imposture or unlawful knowledge." 

"Yet you would fain hear of a certain Colonel, I warrant 
you, whom certain unhappy circumstances have separated from 
his family ; you would give better than silver if I could assure 
you that you would see him in a day or two — ay, perhaps, 
sooner." 

" I know nothing of what you speak, good woman ; if you 
want alms, there is a piece of silver — it is all I have in my 
purse." 

" It were pity that I should take it," said the female ; a and 
yet give it me — for the princess in the fairy tale must ever 
deserve, by her generosity, the bounty of the benevolent fairy, 
before she is rewarded by her protection." 

" Take it — take it — give me my pitcher," said Alice, " and 
begone, — yonder comes one of my father's servants. — What, 
ho ! — Joceline — Joceline ! " 

The old fortune-teller hastily dropped something into the 
pitcher as she restored it to Alice Lee, and, plying her long 
limbs, disappeared speedily under cover of the wood. 

Bevis turned, and backed, and showed some inclination to 
harass the retreat of this suspicious person, yet, as if uncertain, 
ran towards Joliffe, and fawned on him, as to demand his 
advice and encouragement. Joceline pacified the animal, and, 
coming up to his young lady, asked her, with surprise, what 
was the matter, and whether she had been frightened ? Alice 
made light of her alarm, for which, indeed, she could not have 
assigned any very competent reason, for the manners of the 
woman, though bold and intrusive, were not menacing. She 
only said she had met a fortune-teller by Rosamond's Well, and 
had some difficulty in shaking her off. 

"Ah, the gipsy thief," said Joceline, "how well she scented 

N 



194 WOODSTOCK 

there was food in the pantry ! — they have noses like ravens 
these strollers. Look you, Mistress Alice, you shall not see a 
raven, or a carrion-crow in all the blue sky for a mile round 
you ; but let a sheep drop suddenly down on the greensward, 
and before the poor creature's dead you shall see a dozen of 
such guests croaking, as if inviting each other to the banquet. 
— Just so it is with these sturdy beggars. You will see few 
enough of them when there's nothing to give, but when hough's 
in the pot, they will have share on't." 

" You are so proud of your fresh supply of provender," said 
Alice, " that you suspect all of a design on't. I do not think 
this woman will venture near your kitchen, Joceline." 

" It will be best for her health," said Joceline, " lest I give 
her a ducking for digestion. — But give me the pitcher, Mistress 
Alice — meeter I bear it than you. — How now ? what jingles 
at the bottom? Have you lifted the pebbles as well as the 
water ? " 

" I think the woman dropped something into the pitcher," 
said Alice. 

f- Nay, we must look to that, for it is like to be a charm, 
and we have enough of the devil's ware about Woodstock 
already — we will not spare for the water — I can run back and 
fill the pitcher." He poured out the water upon the grass, and 
at the bottom of the pitcher was found a gold ring, in which 
was set a ruby, apparently of some value. 

"Nay, if this be not enchantment, I know not what is," 
said Joceline. " Truly, Mistress Alice, I think you had better 
throw away this gimcrack. Such gifts from such hands are a 
kind of press-money which the devil uses for enlisting his regi- 
ment of witches ; and if they take but so much as a bean from 
him, they become his bond slaves for life — Ay, you look at 
the gew-gaw, but to-morrow you will find a lead ring, and a 
common pebble in its stead." 

"Nay, Joceline, I think it will be better to find out that 
dark-complexioned woman, and return to her what seems of 
some value. So, cause inquiry to be made, and be sure you 
return her ring. It seems too valuable to be destroyed." 

" Umph ! that is always the way with women," murmured 
Joceline. "You will never get the best of them, but she is 
willing to save a bit of finery. — Well, Mistress Alice, I trust 
that you are too young and too pretty to be enlisted in a 
regiment of witches." 

" I shall not be afraid of it till you turn conjurer," said Alice ; 
"so hasten to the well, where you are like still to find the 
woman, and let her know that Alice Lee desires none of her 
gifts, any more than she did of her society." 

So saying, the young lady pursued her way to the Lodge, 



WOODSTOCK 



195 



while Joceline went down to Rosamond's Well to execute her 
commission. But the fortune-teller, or whoever she might be, 
was nowhere to be found ; neither, finding that to be the case, 
did Joceline give himself much trouble in tracking her farther. 

"If this ring, which I dare say the jade stole somewhere," 
said the under-keeper to himself, " be worth a few nobles, it is 
better in honest hands than in that of vagabonds. My master 
has a right to all waifs and strays, and certainly such a ring, 
in possession of a gipsy, must be a waif. So I shall confiscate 
it without scruple, and apply the produce to the support of Sir 
Henry's household, which is like to be poor enough. Thank 
Heaven, my military experience has taught me how to carry 
hooks at my finger-ends — that is trooper's law. Yet, hang it, 
after all, I had best take it to Mark Everard and ask his advice 
— I hold him now to be your learned counsellor in law where 
Mistress Alice's affairs are concerned, and my learned Doctor, 
who shall be nameless, for such as concern Church and State 
and Sir Henry Lee — And I'll give them leave to give mine 
umbles to the kites and ravens if they find me conferring my 
confidence where it is not safe." 



CHAPTER XIX 

Being skilless in these parts, which, to a stranger, 
Unguided and unfriended, often prove 
Eough and inhospitable. 

— Twelfth Night. 

There was a little attempt at preparation, now that the dinner 
hour was arrived, which showed that, in the opinion of his few 
but faithful domestics, the good knight had returned in triumph 
to his home. 

The great tankard, exhibiting in bas-relief the figure of 
Michael subduing the Arch-enemy, was placed on the table, 
and Joceline and Phcebe dutifully attended; the one behind 
the chair of Sir Henry, the other to wait upon her young mis- 
tress, and both to make out, by formal and regular observance, 
the want of a more numerous train. 

"A health to King Charles!" said the old knight, handing 
the massive tankard to his daughter ; " drink it, my love, 
though it be rebel ale which they have left us. I will pledge 
thee ; for the toast will excuse the liquor, had Noll himself 
brewed it." 

The young lady touched the goblet with her lip, and returned 
it to her father, who took a copious draught. 



196 



WOODSTOCK 



" I will not say blessing on their hearts," said he ; " though I 
must own they drank good ale." 

" No wonder, sir ; they come lightly by the malt, and need 
not spare it," said Joceline. 

" Say'st thou ? " said the knight ; " thou shalt finish the 
tankard thyself for that very jest's sake." 

Nor was his follower slow in doing reason to the royal pledge. 
He bowed, and replaced the tankard, saying, after a triumphant 
glance at the sculpture, " I had a gibe with that same red-coat 
about the Saint Michael just now." 

" Red-coat — ha ! what red-coat ? " said the hasty old man. 
" Do any of these knaves still lurk about Woodstock ? — Quoit 
him downstairs instantly, Joceline. — Know we not Galloway 
nags ? " 

" So please you, he is in some charge here, and will speedily 
be gone. — It is he — he who had a rencontre with your honour 
in the wood." 

"Ay, but I paid him off for it in the hall, as you yourself 
saw. — I was never in better fence in my life, Joceline. That 
same steward fellow is not so utterly black-hearted a rogue as 
the most of them, Joceline. He fences well — excellent well. 
I will have thee try a bout in the hall with him to-morrow, 
though I think he will be too hard for thee. I know thy 
strength to an inch." 

He might say this with some truth ; for it was Joceline's 
fashion, when called on, as sometimes happened, to fence with 
his patron, just to put forth as much of his strength and skill 
as obliged the Knight to contend hard for the victory, which, 
in the long run, he always contrived to yield up to him, like a 
discreet serving-man. 

" And what said this roundheaded steward of our great Saint 
Michael's standing cup ? " 

" Marry, he scoffed at our good saint, and said he was little 
better than one of the golden calves of Bethel. But I told him 
he should not talk so, until one of their own roundheaded 
saints had given the devil as complete a cross-buttock as Saint 
Michael had given him, as 'tis carved upon the cup there. I 
trow that made him silent enough. And then he would know 
whether your honour and Mistress Alice, not to mention old 
Joan and myself, since it is your honour's pleasure I should 
take my bed here, were not afraid to sleep in a house that had 
been so much disturbed. But I told him we feared no fiends 
or goblins, having the prayers of the Church read every 
evening." 

"Joceline," said Alice, interrupting him, "wert thou mad? 
You know at what risk to ourselves and the good doctor the 
performance of that duty takes place." 



WOODSTOCK 



197 



"Oh, Mistress Alice/' said Joceline, a little abashed, "you 
may be sure I spoke not a word of the doctor — No, no — I did 
not let him into the secret that we had such a reverend 
chaplain. — I think I know the length of this man's foot. We 
have had a jollification or so together. He is hand and glove 
with me, for as great a fanatic as he is." 

"Trust him not too far," said the knight. "Nay, I fear 
thou hast been imprudent already, and that it will be unsafe 
for the good man to come here after nightfall, as is proposed. 
These Independents have noses like bloodhounds, and can smell 
out a loyalist under any disguise." 

" If your honour thinks so," said Joceline, " I'll watch for 
the doctor with goodwill, and bring him into the Lodge by 
the old condemned postern, and so up to this apartment ; and 
sure this man Tomkins would never presume to come hither; 
and the doctor may have a bed in Woodstock Lodge, and he 
never the wiser ; or, if your honour does not think that safe, I 
can cut his throat for you, and I would not mind it a pin." 

" God forbid ! " said the knight. " He is under our roof, and 
a guest, though not an invited one. — Go, Joceline ; it shall be 
thy penance, for having given thy tongue too much licence, to 
watch for the good doctor, and to take care of his safety while 
he continues with us. An October night or two in the forest 
would finish the good man." 

" He's more like to finish our October than our October is to 
finish him," said the keeper ; and withdrew under the encourag- 
ing smile of his patron. 

He whistled Bevis along with him to share in his watch ; 
and having received exact information where the clergyman 
was most likely to be found, assured his master that he would 
give the most pointed attention to his safety. When the 
attendants had withdrawn, having previously removed the re- 
mains of the meal, the old knight, leaning back in his chair, 
encouraged pleasanter visions than had of late passed through 
his imagination, until by degrees he was surprised by actual 
slumber; while his daughter, not venturing to move but on 
tiptoe, took some needlework, and bringing it close by the old 
man's side, employed her fingers on this task, bending her eyes 
from time to time on her parent, with the affectionate zeal, if 
not the effective power, of a guardian angel. At length, as the 
light faded away, and night came on, she was about to order 
candles to be brought. But, remembering how indifferent a 
couch Joceline's cottage had afforded, she could not think of 
interrupting the first sound and refreshing sleep which her 
father had enjoyed, in all probability, for the last two nights 
and clays. 

She herself had no other amusement, as she sat facing one of 



WOODSTOCK 



the great oriel windows, the same by which Wildrake had on 
a former occasion looked in upon Tomkins and Joceline while 
at their compotations, than watching the clouds, which a lazy 
wind sometimes chased from the broad disk of the harvest- 
moon, sometimes permitted to accumulate, and exclude her 
brightness. There is, I know not why, something peculiarly 
pleasing to the imagination in contemplating the Queen of 
Night, when she is wading, as the expression is, among the 
vapours which she has not power to dispel, and which on 
their side are unable entirely to quench her lustre. It is the 
striking image of patient virtue, calmly pursuing her path 
through good report and bad report, having that excellence in 
herself which ought to command all admiration, but bedimmed 
in the eyes of the world, by suffering, by misfortune, by 
calumny. 

As some such reflections, perhaps, were passing through 
Alice's imagination, she became sensible, to her surprise and 
alarm, that some one had clambered up upon the window, and 
was looking into the room. The idea of supernatural fear did 
not in the slightest degree agitate Alice. She was too much 
accustomed to the place and situation ; for folk do not see 
spectres in the scenes with which they have been familiar from 
infancy. But danger from marauders in a disturbed country 
was a more formidable subject of apprehension, and the thought 
armed Alice, who was naturally high-spirited, with such 
desperate courage, that she snatched a pistol from the wall, on 
which some fire-arms hung, and while she screamed to her 
father to awake, had the presence of mind to present it at the 
intruder. She did so the more readily, because she imagined 
she recognised in the visage, which she partially saw, the features 
of the woman whom she had met with at Rosamond's Well, 
and which had appeared to her peculiarly harsh and suspicious. 
Her father at the same time seized his sword and came forward, 
while the person at the window, alarmed at these demonstra- 
tions, and endeavouring to descend, missed footing, as had 
Cavaliero Wildrake before, and went down to the earth with no 
small noise. Nor was the reception on the bosom of our 
common mother either soft or safe ; for, by a most terrific bark 
and growl, they heard that Bevis had come up and seized on 
the party, ere he or she could gain their feet. 

" Hold fast, but worry not/' said the old knight. — M Alice, 
thou art the queen of wenches ! Stand fast here till I run 
down and secure the rascal." 

" For God's sake, no, my dearest father ! " Alice exclaimed ; 
" Joceline will be up immediately — Hark ! — I hear him." 

There was indeed a bustle below, and more than one light 
danced to and fro in confusion, while those who bore them 



WOODSTOCK 199 

called to each other, yet suppressing their voices as they spoke, 
as men who would only be heard by those they addressed. 
The individual who had fallen under the power of Bevis was 
most impatient in his situation, and called with least pre- 
caution — ff Here, Lee, — Forester — take the dog off, else I must 
shoot him." 

" If thou dost," said Sir Henry, from the window, " I blow 
thy brains out on the spot. Thieves, Joceline, thieves ! come 
up and secure this ruffian. — Bevis, hold on ! " 

" Back, Bevis ; down, sir," cried Joceline. " I am coming, 
I am coming, Sir Henry — Saint Michael, I shall go distracted ! " 

A terrible thought suddenly occurred to Alice ; could Joceline 
have become unfaithful, that he was calling Bevis off the 
villain, instead of encouraging the trusty dog to secure him ? 
Her father, meantime, moved perhaps by some suspicion of the 
same kind, hastily stepped aside out of the moonlight, and 
pulled Alice close to him, so as to be invisible from without, 
yet so placed as to hear what should pass. The scuffle between 
Bevis and his prisoner seemed to be ended by Joceline's inter- 
ference, and there was close whispering for an instant, as of 
people in consultation. 

" All is quiet now," said one voice ; " I will up and prepare 
the way for you." And immediately a form presented itself 
on the outside of the window, pushed open the lattice, and 
sprung into the parlour. But almost ere his step was upon 
the floor, certainly before he had obtained any secure footing, 
the old knight, who stood ready with his rapier drawn, made 
a desperate pass, which bore the intruder to the ground. 
Joceline, who clambered up next with a dark lantern in his 
hand, uttered a dreadful exclamation, when he saw what had 
happened, crying out, "Lord in heaven, he has slain his own 
son ! " 

" No, no — I tell you no," said the fallen young man, who 
was indeed young Albert Lee, the only son of the old knight ; 
"I am not hurt. No noise on your lives, get lights instantly." 
At the same time, he started from the floor as quickly as he 
could, under the embarrassment of a cloak and doublet skewered 
as it were together by the rapier of the old knight, whose 
pass, most fortunately, had been diverted from the body of 
Albert by the interruption of his cloak, the blade passing right 
across his back, piercing the clothes, while the hilt coming 
against his side with the whole force of the lounge, had borne 
him to the ground. 

Joceline all the while enjoined silence to every one, under 
the strictest conjurations. "Silence, as you would long live on 
earth — silence, as ye would have a place in heaven ; be but 
silent for a few minutes — all our lives depend on it." 



200 WOODSTOCK 

Meantime he procured lights with inexpressible despatch, and 
they then beheld that Sir Henry, on hearing the fatal words, 
had sunk back on one of the large chairs, without either 
motion, colour, or sign of life. 

"Oh, brother, how could you come in this manner?" said 
Alice. 

"Ask no questions — Good God! for what am I reserved!" 
He gazed on his father as he spoke, who, with clay-cold 
features rigidly fixed, and his arms extended in the most 
absolute helplessness, looked rather the image of death upon a 
monument, than a being in whom existence was only sus- 
pended. "Was my life spared," said Albert, raising his hands 
with a wild gesture to Heaven, "only to witness such a sight 
as this ! " 

" We suffer what Heaven permits, young man ; we endure 
our lives while Heaven continues them. Let me approach." 
The same clergyman who had read the prayers at Joceline's hut 
now came forward. " Get water," he said, " instantly." And 
the helpful hand and light foot of Alice, with the ready-witted 
tenderness which never stagnates in vain lamentations while 
there is any room for hope, provided with incredible celerity all 
that the clergyman called for. 

" It is but a swoon," he said, on feeling Sir Henry's palm ; 
"a swoon produced from the instant and unexpected shock. 
Rouse thee up, Albert ; I promise thee it will be nothing save 
a syncope — A cup, my dearest Alice, and a ribbon or a bandage. 
I must take same blood — some aromatics, too, if they can be 
had, my good Alice." 

But while Alice procured the cup and bandage, stripped her 
father's sleeve, and seemed by intuition even to anticipate every 
direction of the reverend doctor, her brother, hearing no word, 
and seeing no sign of comfort, stood with both hands clasped 
and elevated into the air, a monument of speechless despair. 
Every feature in his face seemed to express the thought, 
" Here lies my father's corpse, and it is I whose rashness has 
slain him ! " 

But when a few drops of blood began to follow the lancet — 
at first falling singly, and then trickling in a freer stream — 
when, in consequence of the application of cold water to the 
temples, and aromatics to the nostrils, the old man sighed feebly, 
and made an effort to move his limbs, Albert Lee changed his 
posture, at once to throw himself at the feet of the clergyman, 
and kiss, if he would have permitted him, his shoes and the 
hem of his raiment. 

"Rise, foolish youth," said the good man, with a reproving 
tone ; " must it be always thus with you ? Kneel to Heaven, 
not to the feeblest of its agents. You have been saved once 



WOODSTOCK 



20I 



again from great danger; would you deserve Heaven's bounty, 
remember you have been preserved for other purposes than you 
now think on. Begone, you and Joceline — you have a duty to 
discharge ; and be assured it will go better with your father's 
recovery that he see you not for a few minutes. Down — down 
to the wilderness, and bring in your attendant." 

" Thanks, thanks, a thousand thanks," answered Albert Lee ; 
and springing through the lattice, he disappeared as unexpect- 
edly as he had entered. At the same time Joceline followed 
him, and by the same road. 

Alice, whose fears for her father were now something abated, 
upon this new movement among the persons of the scene, could 
not resist appealing to her venerable assistant. " Good doctor, 
answer me but one question. Was my brother Albert here just 
now, or have I dreamed all that has happened for these ten 
minutes past ? Methinks, but for your presence, I could sup- 
pose the whole had passed in my sleep ; that horrible thrust — 
that deathlike, corpse-like old man — that soldier in mute 
despair ; I must indeed have dreamed." 

" If you have dreamed, my sweet Alice," said the doctor, " I 
wish every sick nurse had your property, since you have been 
attending to our patient better during your sleep than most 
of these old dormice can do when they are most awake. But 
your dream came through the gate of horn, my pretty darling, 
which you must remind me to explain to you at leisure. Albert 
has really been here, and will be here again." 

" Albert ! " repeated Sir Henry, " who names my son ? " 

" It is I, my kind patron," said the doctor ; " permit me to 
bind up your arm." 

"My wound? — with all my heart, doctor," said Sir Henry, 
raising himself, and gathering his recollection by degrees. 
"I knew of old thou wert body-curer as well as soul-curer, 
and served my regiment for surgeon as well as chaplain. 
— But where is the rascal I killed ? — I never made a fairer 
stramagon in my life. The shell of my rapier struck against 
his ribs. So, dead he must be, or my right hand has forgot its 
cunning." 

" Nobody was slain," said the doctor ; " we must thank God 
for that, since there were none but friends to slay. Here is a 
good cloak and doublet, though, wounded in a fashion which 
will require some skill in tailor-craft to cure. But I was your 
last antagonist, and took a little blood from you, merely to 
prepare you for the pleasure and surprise of seeing your son, 
who, though hunted pretty close, as you may believe, hath 
made his way from Worcester hither, where, with Joceline's 
assistance, we will care well enough for his safety. It was even 
for this reason that I pressed you to accept of your nephew's 



202 WOODSTOCK 

proposal to return to the old Lodge, where a hundred men 
might be concealed, though a thousand were making search to 
discover them. Never such a place for hide-and-seek, as I shall 
make good when I can find means to publish my Wonders of 
Woodstock." 

" But, my son, my dear son," said the knight, " shall I not 
then instantly see him ! and wherefore did you not forewarn 
me of this joyful event ? " 

"Because I was uncertain of his motions," said the doctor, 
" and rather thought he was bound for the sea-side, and that it 
would be best to tell you of his fate when he was safe on board, 
and in full sail for France. We had appointed to let you know 
all when I came hither to-night to join you. But there is a 
red-coat in the house whom we care not to trust farther than 
we could not help. We dared not, therefore, venture in by the 
hall • and so, prowling round the building, Albert informed us, 
that an old prank of his when a boy, consisted of entering by 
this window. A lad who was with us would needs make the 
experiment, as there seemed to be no light in the chamber, and 
the moonlight without made us liable to be detected. His foot 
slipped, and our friend Bevis came upon us." 

" In good truth, you acted simply," said Sir Henry, " to 
attack a garrison without a summons. But all this is nothing 
to my son, Albert — where is he ? — Let me see him." 

" But, Sir Henry, wait," said the doctor, " till your restored 
strength " 

" A plague of my restored strength, man ! " answered the 
knight, as his old spirit began to awaken within him. — " Dost 
not remember that I lay on Edgehill-field all night bleeding 
like a bullock from five several wounds, and wore my armour 
within six weeks? and you talk to me of the few drops of 
blood that follow such a scratch as a cat's claw might have 
made ! " 

" Nay, if you feel so courageous," said the doctor, " I will 
fetch your son — he is not far distant." 

So saying, he left the apartment, making a sign to Alice to 
remain, in case any symptoms of her father's weakness should 
return. 

It was fortunate, perhaps, that Sir Henry never seemed to 
recollect the precise nature of the alarm, which had at once, 
and effectually as the shock of the thunderbolt, for the moment 
suspended his faculties. Something he said more than once of 
being certain he had done mischief with that stramaqon, as he 
called it ; but his mind did not recur to that danger as having 
been incurred by his son. Alice, glad to see that her father 
appeared to have forgotten a circumstance so fearful (as men 
often forget the blow, or other sudden cause, which has thrown 



WOODSTOCK 203 

them into a swoon), readily excused herself from throwing 
much light 011 the matter, by pleading the general confusion. 
And in a few minutes, Albert cut off all farther inquiry, by 
entering the room, followed by the doctor, and throwing himself 
alternately into the arms of his father and of his sister. 



CHAPTER XX 

The boy is— hark ye, sirrah — what's your name ? — 
Oh, Jacob — ay, I recollect — the same. 

— Crabbe. 

The affectionate relatives were united as those who, meeting 
under great adversity, feel still the happiness of sharing it in 
common. They embraced again and again, and gave way to 
those expansions of the heart, which at once express and relieve 
the pressure of mental agitation. At length the tide of emotion 
began to subside ; and Sir Henry, still holding his recovered 
son by the hand, resumed the command of his feelings which 
he usually practised. 

"So you have seen the last of our battles, Albert," he said, 
"and the King's colours have fallen for ever before the rebels." 

"It is but even so," said the young man — "the last cast of 
the die was thrown, and, alas ! lost at Worcester ; and Crom- 
well's fortune carried it there, as it has wherever he has shown 
himself." 

"Well — it can but be for a time — it can but be for a time," 
answered his father ; " the devil is potent, they say, in raising 
and gratifying favourites, but he can grant but short leases. 
— And the King — the King, Albert — the King — in my ear — 
close, close ! " 

"Our last news were confident that he had escaped from 
Bristol." 

" Thank God for that— thank God for that ! " said the knight. 
"Where didst thou leave him ?" 

"Our men were almost all cut to pieces at the bridge," 
Albert replied; "but I followed his Majesty with about five 
hundred other officers and gentlemen, who were resolved to die 
around him, until as our numbers and appearance drew the 
whole pursuit after us, it pleased his Majesty to dismiss us, with 
many thanks and words of comfort to us in general, and some 
kind expressions to most of us in especial. He sent his royal 
greeting to you, sir, in particular, and said more than becomes 
me to repeat." 

"Nay, I will hear it every word, boy," said Sir Henry ; "is 



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not the certainty that thou hast discharged thy duty, and that 
King Charles owns it, enough to console me for all we have lost 
and suffered, and wouldst thou stint me of it from a false shame- 
facedness ? — I will have it out of thee, were it drawn from thee 
with cords ! " 

" It shall need no such compulsion," said the young man — 
"It was his Majesty's pleasure to bid me tell Sir Henry Lee, in 
his name, that if his son could not go before his father in the 
race of loyalty, he was at least following him closely, and would 
soon move side by side." 

"Said he so?" answered the knight — "Old Victor Lee will 
look down with pride on thee, Albert ! — But I forget — you must 
be weary and hungry." 

" Even so, sir," said Albert ; " but these are things which of 
late I have been in the habit of enduring for safety's sake." 

" Joceline ! — what ho, Joceline ! " 

The under-keeper entered, and received orders to get supper 
prepared directly. 

"My son and Dr. Rochecliffe are half starving," said the 
knight. 

" And there is a lad, too, below," said Joceline ; " a page, he 
says, of Colonel Albert's, whose belly rings cupboard too, and 
that to no common tune ; for I think he could eat a horse, as 
the Yorkshireman says, behind the saddle. He had better eat 
at the sideboard ; for he has devoured a whole loaf of bread and 
butter, as fast as Phoebe could cut it, and it has not staid his 
stomach for a minute — and truly I think you had better keep 
him under your own eyes, for the steward beneath might ask 
him troublesome questions if he went below — And then he is 
impatient, as all your gentlemen pages are, and is saucy among 
the women." 

"Whom is it he talks of? — what page hast thou got, Albert, 
that bears himself so ill ? " said Sir Henry. 

"The son of a dear friend, a noble lord of Scotland, who 
followed the great Montrose's banner — afterwards joined the 
King in Scotland, and came with him as far as Worcester. He 
was wounded the day before the battle, and conjured me to 
take this youth under my charge, which I did, something un- 
willingly ; but I could not refuse a father, perhaps on his death- 
bed, pleading for the safety of an only son." 

"Thou hadst deserved an halter hadst thou hesitated," said 
Sir Henry ; " the smallest tree can always give some shelter, — 
and it pleases me to think the old stock of Lee is not so totally 
prostrate, but it may yet be a refuge for the distressed. Fetch 
the youth in ; — he is of noble blood, and these are no times 
of ceremony — he shall sit With us at the same table, page 
though he be ; and if you have not schooled him handsomely 



WOODSTOCK 205 

in his manners, he may not be the worse of some lessons 
from me." 

" You will excuse his national drawling accent, sir ? " said 
Albert, " though I know you like it not." 

"I have small cause, Albert," answered the knight — "small 
cause. — Who stirred up these disunions ? — the Scots. Who 
strengthened the hands of Parliament, when their cause was 
well-nigh ruined ? — the Scots again. Who delivered up the 
King, their countryman, who had flung himself upon their 
protection? — the "Scots again. But this lad's father, you say, 
has fought on the part of the noble Montrose ; and such a man 
as the great Marquis may make amends for the degeneracy of 
a whole nation." 

"Nay, father," said Albert, "and I must add, that though 
this lad is uncouth and wayward, and, as you will see, some- 
thing wilful, yet the King has not a more zealous friend in 
England ; and, when occasion offered, he fought stoutly, too, 
in his defence — I marvel he comes not." 

" He hath taken the bath," said Joceline, " and nothing less 
would serve than that he should have it immediately — the 
supper, he said, might be got ready in the meantime ; and he 
commands all about him as if he were in his fathers old castle, 
where he might have called long enough, I warrant, without 
any one to hear him." 

" Indeed ? " said Sir Henry, " this must be a forward chick 
of the game, to crow so early. — What is his name ? " 

" His name ? — it escapes me every hour, it is so hard a one," 
said Albert — " Kerneguy is his name — Louis Kerneguy ; his 
father was Lord Killstewers, of Kincardineshire." 

" Kerneguy, and Killstewers, and Kin — what d'ye call it ? — 
Truly," said the knight, " these northern men's names and titles 
smack of their origin — they sound like a north-west wind, 
rumbling and roaring among heather and rocks." 

"It is but the asperities of the Celtic and Saxon dialects," 
said Dr. Rochecliffe, " which, according to Verstegan, still 
linger in those northern parts of the island. — But peace — here 
comes supper, and Master Louis Kerneguy." 

Supper entered accordingly, borne in by Joceline and Phoebe, 
and after it, leaning on a huge knotty stick, and having his 
nose in the air like a questing hound — for his attention was 
apparently more fixed on the good provisions that went before 
him, than anything else — came Master Kerneguy, and seated 
himself, without much ceremony, at the lower end of the table. 

He was a tall, rawboned lad, with a shock head of hair, fiery 
red, like many of his country, while the harshness of his na- 
tional features was increased by the contrast of his complexion, 
turned almost black by the exposure to all sorts of weather, 



206 



WOODSTOCK 



which, in that skulking and rambling mode of life, the fugitive 
royalists had been obliged to encounter. His address was by 
no means prepossessing, being a mixture of awkwardness and 
forwardness, and showing in a remarkable degree how a want 
of easy address may be consistent with an admirable stock of 
assurance. His face intimated having received some recent 
scratches, and the care of Dr. Rochecliffe had decorated it with 
a number of patches, which even enhanced its natural plain- 
ness. Yet the eyes were brilliant and expressive, and, amid 
his ugliness — for it amounted to that degree of irregularity — 
the face was not deficient in some lines which expressed both 
sagacity and resolution. 

The dress of Albert himself was far beneath his quality, as 
the son of Sir Henry Lee, and commander of a regiment in the 
royal service ; but that of his page was still more dilapidated. 
A disastrous green jerkin, which had been changed to a hun- 
dred hues by sun and rain, so that the original could scarce be 
discovered, huge clouterly shoes, leathern breeches — such as 
were worn by hedgers — coarse grey worsted stockings, were the 
attire of the honourable youth, whose limping gait, while it 
added to the ungainliness of his manner, showed, at the same 
time, the extent of his sufferings. His appearance bordered so 
much upon what is vulgarly called the queer, that even with 
Alice it would have excited some sense of ridicule, had not 
compassion been predominant. 

The grace was said, and the young squire of Ditchley, as 
well as Dr. Rochecliffe, made an excellent figure at a meal, the 
like of which, in quality and abundance, did not seem to have 
lately fallen to their share. But their feats were child's-play to 
those of the Scottish youth. Far from betraying any symptoms 
of the bread and butter with which he had attempted to close 
the orifice of his stomach, his appetite appeared to have been 
sharpened by a nine-days' fast; and the knight was disposed to 
think that the very genius of famine himself, come forth from 
his native regions of the north, was in the act of honouring 
him with a visit, while, as if afraid of losing a moment's exer- 
tion, Master Kerneguy never looked either to right or left, or 
spoke a single word to any at table. 

" I am glad to see that you have brought a good appetite for 
our country fare, young gentleman," said Sir Henry. 

a Bread of gude ! sir," said the page, " an ye'll find flesh, 
I'se find appetite conforming, ony day o' the year. But the 
truth is, sir, that the appeteezement has been coming on for 
three days or four, and the meat in this southland of yours has 
been scarce, and hard to come by ; so, sir, I'm making up for 
lost time, as the piper of Sligo said, when he eat a hail side o' 
mutton.'' 



WOODSTOCK 207 

"You have been country-bred, young man/' said the knight, 
who, like others of his time, held the reins of discipline rather 
tight over the rising generation; "at least, to judge from the 
youths of Scotland whom I have seen at his late Majesty's 
court in former days ; they had less appetite, and more — 
more" — As he sought the qualifying phrase, which might 
supply the place of "good manners," his guest closed the 
sentence in his own way — "And more meat, it may be — the 
better luck theirs." 

Sir Henry stared and was silent. His son seemed to think 
it time to interpose — "My dear father," he said, "think how 
many years have run since the Thirty-eight, when the Scottish 
troubles first began, and I am sure that you will not wonder 
that, while the Barons of Scotland have been, for one cause or 
other, perpetually in the field, the education of their children 
at home must have been much neglected, and that young men 
of my friend's age know better how to use a broadsword, or to 
toss a pike, than the decent ceremonials of society." 

"The reason is a sufficient one," said the knight, "and, since 
thou sayest thy follower Kernigo can fight, we'll not let him lack 
victuals, a God's name. — See, he looks angrily still at yonder cold 
loin of mutton — for God's sake put it all on his plate ! " 

"I can bide the bit and the buffet," said the honourable 
Master Kerneguy — " a hungry tike ne'er minds a blaud with a 
rough bane." 

"Now, God ha'e mercy, Albert, but if this be the son of a 
Scots peer," said Sir Henry to his son, in a low tone of voice, 
"I would not be the English ploughman who would change 
manners with him for his ancient blood, and his nobility, and 
his estate to boot, an he has one. — He has eaten, as I am a 
Christian, near four pounds of solid butcher's meat, and with 
the grace of a wolf tugging at the carcass of a dead horse. — 
Oh, he is about to drink at last — Soh ! — he wipes his mouth, 
though, — and dips his fingers in the ewer — and dries them, 
I profess, with the napkin ! — there is some grace in him, 
r.fterall." 

" Here is wussing all your vera gude healths ! " said the youth 
of quality, and took a draught in proportion to the solids which 
he had sent before ; he then flung his knife and fork awkwardly 
on the trencher, which he pushed back towards the centre of 
the table, extended his feet beneath it till they rested on their 
heels, folded his arms on his well-replenished stomach, and, 
lolling back in his chair, looked much as if he was about to 
whistle himself asleep. 

" Soh ! " said the knight — " the honourable Master Kernigo 
hath laid down his arms. — Withdraw these things, and give us 
our glasses — Fill them around, Joceline ; and if the devil or 



208 



WOODSTOCK 



the whole Parliament were within hearing, let them hear Henry 
Lee of Ditchley drink a health to King Charles, and confusion 
to his enemies ! " 

" Amen ! " said a voice from behind the door. 

All the company looked at each other in astonishment, at a 
response so little expected. It was followed by a solemn and 
peculiar tap, such as a kind of freemasonry had introduced 
among royalists, and by which they were accustomed to make 
themselves and their principles known to each other, when 
they met by accident. 

"There is no danger," said Albert, knowing the sign — "it 
is a friend ; — yet I wish he had been at a greater distance just 
now." 

" And why, my son, should you wish the absence of one true 
man, who may, perhaps, wish to share our abundance, on one 
of those rare occasions when we have superfluity at our disposal ? 
Go, Joceline, see who knocks — and, if a safe man, admit 
him." 

" And if otherwise," said Joceline, " methinks I shall be able 
to prevent his troubling the good company." 

" No violence, Joceline, on your life," said Albert Lee ; and 
Alice echoed, " For God's sake, no violence ! " 

"No unnecessary violence at least," said the good knight; 
"for if the time demands it, I will have it seen that I am 
master of my own house." Joceline Joliffe nodded assent to 
all parties, and went on tiptoe to exchange one or two other 
mysterious symbols and knocks, ere he opened the door. It 
may be here remarked, that this species of secret association, 
with its signals of union, existed among the more dissolute and 
desperate class of cavaliers, men habituated to the dissipated 
life which they had been accustomed to in an ill-disciplined 
army, where everything like order and regularity was too apt 
to be accounted a badge of puritanism. These were the " roar- 
ing boys " who met in hedge alehouses, and when they had by 
any chance obtained a little money or a little credit, determined 
to create a counter-revolution by declaring their sittings perma- 
nent, and proclaimed, in the words of one of their choicest 
ditties — 

" We'll drink till we bring 
In triumph back the king." 

The leaders and gentry, of a higher description and more regular 
morals, did not indeed partake such excesses, but they still j 
kept their eye upon a class of persons, who, from courage and j 
desperation, were capable of serving on an advantageous occa- J 
sion the fallen cause of royalty ; and recorded the lodges and | 
blind taverns at which they met, as wholesale merchants know i 



WOODSTOCK 



209 



the houses of call of the mechanics whom they may have occa- 
sion to employ, and can tell where they may find them when 
need requires. It is scarce necessary to add, that among the 
lower class, and sometimes even among the higher, there were 
men found capable of betraying the projects and conspiracies of 
thfeir associates, whether well or indifferently combined, to the 
governors of the state. Cromwell, in particular, had gained 
some correspondents of this kind of the highest rank, and of 
the most undoubted character, among the royalists, who, if they 
made scruple of impeaching or betraying individuals who con- 
fided in them, had no hesitation in giving the government such 
general information as served to enable him to disappoint the 
purposes of any plot or conspiracy. 

To return to our story. In much shorter time than we have 
spent in reminding the reader of these historical particulars, 
Joliffe had made his mystic communication ; and being duly 
answered as by one of the initiated, he undid the door, and 
there entered our old friend Roger Wildrake, roundhead in dress, 
as his safety and his dependence on Colonel Everard compelled 
him to be, but that dress worn in a most cavalier-like manner, and 
forming a stronger contrast than usual with the demeanour and 
language of the wearer, to which it was never very congenial. 

His puritanic hat, the emblem of that of Ralpho in the prints 
to Hudibras, or, as he called it, his felt umbrella, was set most 
knowingly on one side of the head, as if it had been a Spanish 
hat and feather; his straight square-caped sad-coloured cloak 
was flung gaily upon one shoulder, as if it had been of three- 
piled taffeta, lined with crimson silk ; and he paraded his huge 
calf-skined boots, as if they had been silken hose and Spanish 
leather shoes, with roses on the instep. In short, the airs which 
he gave himself, of a most thorough-paced wild gallant and 
cavalier, joined to a glistening of self-satisfaction in his eye, and 
an inimitable swagger in his gait, which completely announced 
his thoughtless, conceited, and reckless character, formed a most 
ridiculous contrast to his gravity of attire. 

It could not, on the other hand, be denied, that in spite of 
the touch of ridicule which attached to his character, and the 
loose morality which he had learned in the dissipation of town 
pleasures, and afterwards in the disorderly life of a soldier, 
Wildrake had points about him both to make him feared and 
respected. He was handsome, even in spite of his air of de- 
bauched effrontery ; a man of the most decided courage, though 
his vaunting rendered it sometimes doubtful ; and entertained 
a sincere sense of his political principles, such as they were, 
though he was often so imprudent in asserting and boasting of 
them, as, joined with his dependence on Colonel Everard, in- 
duced prudent men to doubt his sincerity. 

o 



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Such as he was, however, he entered the parlour of Victor 
Lee, where his presence was anything but desirable to the 
parties present, with a jaunty step, and a consciousness of de- 
serving the best possible reception. This assurance was greatly 
aided by circumstances which rendered it obvious, that if the 
jocund cavalier had limited himself to one draught of liquor 
that evening, in terms of his vow of temperance, it must have 
been a very deep and long one. 

"Save ye, gentlemen, save ye. — Save you, good Sir Henry 
Lee, though I have scarce the honour to be known to you. — 
Save you, worthy doctor, and a speedy resurrection to the fallen 
Church of England." 

"You are welcome, sir," said Sir Henry Lee, whose feelings 
of hospitality, and of the fraternal reception due to a royalist 
sufferer, induced him to tolerate this intrusion more than he 
might have done otherwise. " If you have fought or suffered 
for the King, sir, it is an excuse for joining us, and commanding 
our services in anything in our power — although at present we 
are a family-party. — But I think I saw you in waiting upon 
Master Markham Everard, who calls himself Colonel Everard. 
— If your message is from him, you may wish to see me in 
private ? " 

" Not at all, Sir Henry, not at all. — It is true, as my ill hap 
will have it, that being on the stormy side of the hedge — like 
all honest men — you understand me, Sir Henry — I am glad, as 
it were, to gain something from my old friend and comrade's 
countenance — not by truckling or disowning my principles, sir 
— I defy such practices ; — but, in short, by doing him any 
kindness in my power when he is pleased to call on me. So I 
came down here with a message from him to the old round- 
headed son of a (I beg the young lady's pardon, from the 

crown of her head down to the very toes of her slipper) — And 
so, sir, chancing as I was stumbling out in the dark, I heard 
you give a toast, sir, which warmed my heart, sir, and ever 
will, sir, till death chills it ; — and so I made bold to let you 
know there was an honest man within hearing." 

Such was the self-introduction of Master Wildrake, to which 
the knight replied, by asking him to sit down, and take a glass 
of sack to his Majesty's glorious restoration. Wildrake, at this 
hint, squeezed in without ceremony beside the young Scotsman, 
and not only pledged his landlord's toast, but seconded its im- 
port, by volunteering a verse or two of his favourite loyal ditty, 
— "The King shall enjoy his own again." The heartiness 
which he threw into his song opened still farther the heart of 
the old knight, though Albert and Alice looked at each other 
with looks resentful of the intrusion, and desirous to put an end 
to it. The honourable Master Kerneguy either possessed that 



WOODSTOCK 



211 



happy indifference of temper which does not deign to notice 
such circumstances, or he was able to assume the appearance of 
it to perfection, as he sat sipping sack, and cracking walnuts, 
without testifying the least sense that an addition had been 
made to the party. Wildrake, who liked the liquor and the 
company, showed no unwillingness to repay his landlord, by 
being .at the expense of the conversation. 

"You talk of fighting and suffering, Sir Henry Lee. Lord 
help us, we have all had our share. All the world knows what 
Sir Henry Lee has done from Edgefield downwards, wherever a 
loyal sword was drawn, or a loyal flag fluttered. Ah, God help 
us ! I have done something too. My name is Roger Wildrake 
of Squattleseamere, Lincoln ; not that you are ever like to have 
heard it before, but I was captain in Lunsford's light-horse, and 
afterwards with Goring. I was a child-eater, sir — a babe-bolter." 

" I have heard of your regiment's exploits, sir ; and perhaps 
you may find I have seen some of them, if we should spend ten 
minutes together. And I think I have heard of your name 
too. I beg to drink your health, Captain Wildrake of Squat- 
tleseamere, Lincolnshire." 

"Sir Henry, I drink yours in this pint bumper, and upon 
my knee ; and I would do as much for that young gentleman " 
— (looking at Albert) — "and the squire of the green cassock 
too, holding it for green, as the colours are not to my eyes 
altogether clear and distinguishable." 

It was a remarkable part of what is called by theatrical folk 
the by-play of this scene, that Albert was conversing apart 
with Dr. Rochecliffe in whispers, even more than the divine 
seemed desirous of encouraging ; yet, to whatever their private 
conversation referred, it did not deprive the young Colonel of 
the power of listening to what was going forward in the party 
at large, and interfering from time to time, like a watch-dog, 
who can distinguish the slightest alarm, even when employed in 
the engrossing process of taking his food. 

" Captain Wildrake," said Albert, " we have no objection — I 
mean, my friend and I — to be communicative on proper occa- 
sions ; but you, sir, who are so old a sufferer, must needs know, 
that at such casual meetings as this, men do not mention their 
names unless they are specially wanted. It is a point of con- 
science, sir, to be able to say, if your principal, Captain Everard 
or Colonel Everard, if he be a Colonel, should examine you 
upon oath, I did not know who the persons were whom I heard 
drink such and such toasts." 

"Faith, I have a better way of it, worthy sir," answered 
Wildrake ; " I never can, for the life of me, remember that 
there were any such and such toasts drunk at all. It's a 
strange gift of forgetfulness I have." 



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" Well, sir/' replied the younger Lee ; u but we, who have I 
unhappily more tenacious memories, would willingly abide by 
the more general rule." 

" Oh, sir," answered Wildrake, "with all my heart. I intrude 
on no man's confidence, d — n me — and I only spoke for civility's 
sake, having the purpose of drinking your health in a good 
fashion." — (Then he broke forth into melody) — 

" 1 Then let the health go round, a-round, a-round, a-round, 
Then let the health go round ; 
For though your stocking be of silk, 

Your knee shall kiss the ground, a-ground, a-ground, a-ground, 
Your knee shall kiss the ground.' " 

" Urge it no farther," said Sir Henry, addressing his son ; 
" Master Wildrake is one of the old school — one of the tantivy 
boys ; and we must bear a little, for if they drink hard they 
fought well. I will never forget how a party came up and 
rescued us clerks of Oxford, as they called the regiment I 
belonged to, out of a cursed enibroglio during the attack on 
Brentford. I tell you we were enclosed with the cockneys' 
pikes both front and rear, and we should have come off but ill 
had not Lunsford's light-horse, the babe-eaters as they called 
them, charged up to the pike's point, and brought us off." 

" I am glad you thought on that, Sir Henry," said Wildrake ; 
"and do you remember what the officer of Lunsford said ?" 

"I think I do," said Sir Henry, smiling. 

"Well, then, did not he call out, when the women were 
coming down, howling like sirens as they were — 'Have none 
of you a plump child that you could give us to break our fast 
upon ? ' " 

"Truth itself!" said the knight; "and a great fat woman 
stepped forward with a baby, and offered it to the supposed 
cannibal." 

All at the table, Master Kerneguy excepted, who seemed to | 
think that good food of any kind required no apology, held up \ 
their hands in token of amazement. 

" Ay," said Wildrake, " the — a-hem ! — I crave the lady's 
pardon again, from tip of top-knot to hem of farthingale — 
but the cursed creature proved to be a parish nurse, who had 
been paid for the child half a year in advance. Gad, I took 
the babe out of the bitch-wolf s hand ; and I have contrived, 
though God knows I have lived in a skeldering sort of way 
myself, to breed up bold Breakfast, as I call him, ever since* ; 
It was paying dear for a jest, though." 

"Sir, I honour you for your humanity," said the old knight 
— "Sir, I thank you for your courage — Sir, I am glad to see j 



WOODSTOCK 



213 



you here/' said the good knight, his eyes watering almost to 
overflowing. u So you were the wild officer who cut us out of 
the toils ; oh, sir, had you but stopped when I called on you, 
and allowed us to clear the streets of Brentford with our 
musketeers, we would have been at London Stone that day ! 
But your good will was the same." 

" Ay, truly was it," said Wildrake, who now sat triumphant 
and glorious in his easy-chair ; " and here is to all the brave 
hearts, sir, that fought and fell in that same storm of Brent- 
ford. We drove all before us like chaff, till the shops, where 
they sold strong waters, and other temptations, brought us up. 
Gad, sir, we, the babe-eaters, had too many acquaintances in 
Brentford, and our stout Prince Rupert was ever better at 
making way than drawing off*. Gad, sir, for my own poor 
share, I did but go into the house of a poor widow lady, who 
maintained a charge of daughters, and whom I had known of 
old, to get my horse fed, a morsel of meat, and so forth, when 
these cockney pikes of the artillery ground, as you very well 
call them, rallied, and came in with their armed heads, as 
boldly as so many Cotswold rams. I sprang downstairs, got 
to my horse, — but, egad, I fancy all my troop had widows and 
orphan maidens to comfort as well as I, for only five of us got 
together. We cut our way through successfully ; and Gad, 
gentlemen, I carried my little Breakfast on the pommel before 
me ; and there was such a hollowing and screeching, as if the 
whole town thought I was to kill, roast, and eat the poor child, 
so soon as I got to quarters. But devil a cockney charged up 
to my bonny bay, poor lass, to rescue little cake-bread ; they 
only cried haro, and out upon me." 

" Alas ! alas ! " said the knight, a we made ourselves seem 
worse than we were ; and we were too bad to deserve God's 
blessing even in a good cause. But it is needless to look back 
— we did not deserve victories when God gave them, for we 
never improved them like good soldiers, or like Christian men ; 
and so we gave these canting scoundrels the advantage of us, 
for they assumed, out of mere hypocrisy, the discipline and 
orderly behaviour which we, who drew our swords in a better 
cause, ought to have practised out of true principle. But here 
is my hand, Captain. I have often wished to see the honest 
fellow who charged up so smartly in our behalf, and I rever- 
ence you for the care you took of the poor child. I am glad 
this dilapidated place has still some hospitality to offer you, 
although we cannot treat you to roasted babes or stewed suck- 
lings — eh, Captain ? " 

"Troth, Sir Henry, the scandal was sore against us on that 
score. I remember Lacy, who was an old play-actor, and a 
lieutenant in ours, made drollery on it in a play which was 



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sometimes acted at Oxford, when our hearts were something 
up, called, I think, the Old Troop." 

So saying, and feeling more familiar as his merits were 
known, he hitched his chair up against that of the Scottish lad, 
who was seated next him, and who, in shifting his place, was 
awkward enough to disturb, in his turn, Alice Lee, who sat 
opposite, and, a little offended, or at least embarrassed, drew 
her chair away from the table. 

" I crave pardon," said the honourable Master Kerneguy ; 
"but, sir," to Master Wildrake, "ye hae e'en garr'd me hurt 
the young lady's shank." 

"1 crave your pardon, sir, and much more that of the fair 
lady, as is reasonable ; though, rat me, sir, if it was I set your 
chair a-trundling in that way. Zooks, sir, I have brought with 
me no plague, nor pestilence, nor other infectious disorder, that 
ye should have started away as if I had been a leper, and dis- 
composed the lady, which I would have prevented with my life, 
sir. Sir, if ye be northern born, as your tongue bespeaks, egad, 
it was I ran the risk in drawing near you ; so there was small 
reason for you to bolt." 

"Master Wildrake," said Albert, interfering, "this young 
gentleman is a stranger as well as you, under protection of Sir 
Henry's hospitality, and it cannot be agreeable for my father 
to see disputes arise among his guests. You may mistake the 
young gentleman's quality from his present appearance — this is 
the Honourable Master Louis Kerneguy, sir, son of my Lord 
Killstewers of Kincardineshire, one who has fought for the 
King, young as he is." 

"No dispute shall rise through me, sir — none through me," 
said Wildrake ; " your exposition sumceth, sir. — Master Louis 
Girnigo, son of my Lord Kilsteer, in Gringardenshire, I am 
your humble slave, sir, and drink your health, in token that I 
honour you, and all true Scots who draw their Andrew Ferraras 
on the right side, sir." 

" I'se beholden to you, and thank you, sir," said the young man, 
with some haughtiness of manner, which hardly corresponded 
with his rusticity ; "and I wuss your health in a ceevil way." 

Most judicious persons would have here dropped the conver- 
sation ; but it was one of Wildrake's marked peculiarities, that 
he could never let matters stand when they were well. He 
continued to plague the shy, proud, and awkward lad with his 
observations. " You speak your national dialect pretty strongly, 
Master Girnigo," said he, " but I think not quite the language 
of the gallants that I have known among the Scottish cavaliers 
— I knew, for example, some of the Gordons, and others of good 
repute, who always put an f for the wh, as Jaat for what, fan for 
when, and the like." 



WOODSTOCK 215 

Albert Lee here interposed, and said that the provinces of 
Scotland, like those of England, had their different modes of 
pronunciation. 

" You are very right, sir," said Wildrake. " I reckon myself, 
now, a pretty good speaker of their cursed jargon — no offence, 
young gentleman ; and yet, when I took a turn with some of 
Montrose's folk, in the South Hielands, as they call their beastly 
wildernesses (no offence again), I chanced to be by myself, and 
to lose my way, when I said to a shepherd-fellow, making my 
mouth as wide, and my voice as broad as I could, whore am I 
ganging till? — confound me if the fellow could answer me, 
unless, indeed, he was sulky, as the bumpkins will be now and 
then to the gentlemen of the sword." 

This was familiarly spoken, and though partly addressed to 
Albert, was still more directed to his immediate neighbour, the 
young Scotsman, who seemed, from bashfulness, or some other 
reason, rather shy of his intimacy. To one or two personal 
touches from Wildrake's elbow, administered during his last 
speech, by way of a practical appeal to him in particular, he 
only answered, " Misunderstandings were to be expected when 
men converse in national deealects." 

Wildrake, now considerably drunker than he ought to have 
been in civil company, caught up the phrase, and repeated it : — 
" Misunderstanding, sir — Misunderstanding, sir ? — I do not 
know how I am to construe that, sir ; but to judge from the 
information of these scratches on your honourable visnomy, I 
should augur that you had been of late at misunderstanding 
with the cat, sir ? " 

" You are mistaken, then, friend, for it was with the dowg," 
answered the Scotsman dryly, and cast a look towards Albert. 

"We had some trouble with the watch-dogs in entering so 
late in the evening," said Albert, in explanation, " and this 
youth had a fall among some rubbish, by which he came by 
these scratches." 

" And now, dear Sir Henry," said Dr. Rochecliffe, " allow 
us to remind you of your gout, and our long journey. I do it 
the rather that my good friend your son has been, during the 
whole time of supper, putting questions to me aside, which had 
much better be reserved till to-morrow — May we therefore ask 
permission to retire to our night's rest?" 

"These private committees in a merry meeting," said Wild- 
rake, "are a solecism in breeding. They always put me in 
mind of the cursed committees at Westminster. — But shall we 
to roost before we rouse the night owl with a catch ? " 

" Aha, canst thou quote Shakspeare ? " said Sir Henry, 
pleased at discovering a new good quality in his acquaintance, 
whose military services were otherwise but just able to counter- 



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balance the intrusive freedom of his conversation. " In the 
name of merry Will," he continued, — " whom I never saw, 
though I have seen many of his comrades, as Alleyn, Hem- 
mings, and so on, — we will have a single catch, and one rouse 
about, and then to bed." 

After the usual discussion about the choice of the song, and 
the parts which each was to bear, they united their voices in 
trolling a loyal glee, which was popular among the party at 
the time, and in fact believed to be composed by no less a 
person than Dr. RocheclifFe himself. 

GLEE FOR KING CHARLES. 

Bring the bowl which you boast, 

Fill it up to the brim ; 
'Tis to him we love most, 

And to all who love him. 
Brave gallants, stand up, 

And avaunt, ye base carles ! 
Were there death in the cup, 

Here's a health to King Charles! 

Though he wanders through dangers, 

Unaided, unknown, 
Dependent on strangers, 

Estranged from his own ; 
Though 'tis under our breath, 

Amidst forfeits and perils, 
Here's to honour and faith, 

And a health to King Charles ! 

Let such honours abound 

As the time can afford, 
The knee on the ground, 

And the hand on the sword ; 
But the time shall come round, 

When, 'mid Lords, Dukes, and Earls, 
The loud trumpet shall sound 

Here's a health to King Charles ! 

After this display of loyalty, and a final libation, the party 
took leave of each other for the night. Sir Henry offered his 
old acquaintance Wildrake a bed for the evening, who weighed 
the matter somewhat in this fashion : " Why, to speak truth, 
my patron will expect me at the borough — but then he is used 
to my staying out of doors a-nights. Then there's the Devil, 
that they say haunts Woodstock ; but with the blessing of this 
reverend Doctor, I defy him and all his works — I saw him not 
when I slept here twice before, and I am sure if he was absent 



WOODSTOCK 217 

then, be has not come back with Sir Henry Lee and his family. 
So I accept your courtesy, Sir Henry, and I thank you, as a 
cavalier of Lunsford should thank one of the fighting clerks of 
Oxon. God bless the King ! I care not who hears it, and 
confusion to Noll and his red nose ! " Off he went accordingly 
With a bottle-swagger, guided by Joceline, to whom Albert, in 
the meantime, had whispered, to be sure to quarter him far 
enough from the rest of the family. 

Young Lee then saluted his sister, and, with the formality 
of those times, asked and received his father's blessing with an 
affectionate embrace. His page seemed desirous to imitate one 
part of his example, but was repelled by Alice, who only replied 
to his offered salute with a courtesy. He next bowed his head 
in an awkward fashion to her father, who wished him a good 
night. " I am glad to see, young man," he said, " that you 
have at least learned the reverence due to age. It should 
always be paid, sir ; because in doing so you render that honour 
to others which you will expect yourself to receive when you 
approach the close of your life. More will I speak with you at 
leisure, on your duties as a page, which office in former days 
used to be the very school of chivalry ; whereas of late, by the 
disorderly times, it has become little better than a school of 
wild and disordered licence ; which made rare Ben Jonson 
exclaim " 

"Nay, father," said Albert, interposing, "you must consider 
this day's fatigue, and the poor lad is almost asleep on his legs 
— to-morrow he will listen with more profit to your kind admo- 
nitions. — And you, Louis, remember at least one part of your 
duty — take the candles and light us — here Joceline comes to 
show us the way. Once more, good night, good Dr. Rochecliffe 
— good night, all." 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Groom. Hail, noble prince ! 
King Richard. Thanks, noble peer ! 

The cheapest of us is a groat too dear. 

— Richard II. 

Albert and his page were ushered by Joceline to what was 
called the Spanish Chamber, a huge old scrambling bedroom, 
rather in a dilapidated condition, but furnished with a large 
standing-bed for the master, and a truckle-bed for the do- 
mestic, as was common at a much later period in old English 
houses, where the gentleman often required the assistance of a 
groom of the chambers to help him to bed, if the hospitality 



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M^OODSTOCK 



had been exuberant. The walls were covered with hangings 
of cordovan leather, stamped with gold, and representing fights 
between the Spaniards and Moriscoes, bull-feasts, and other 
sports peculiar to the Peninsula, from which it took its name 
of the Spanish Chamber. These hangings were in some places 
entirely torn down, in others defaced and hanging in tatters. 
But Albert stopped not to make observations, anxious, it 
seemed, to get Joceline out of the room ; which he achieved 
by hastily answering his offers of fresh fuel, and more liquor, 
in the negative, and returning, with equal conciseness, the 
under-keeper's good wishes for the evening. He at length 
retired, somewhat unwillingly, and as if he thought that his 
young master might have bestowed a few more words upon a 
faithful old retainer after so long absence. 

JolifFe was no sooner gone, than, before a single word was 
spoken between Albert Lee and his page, the former hastened 
to the door, examined lock, latch, and bolt, and made them 
fast, with the most scrupulous attention. He superadded to 
these precautions that of a long screw-bolt, which he brought 
out of his pocket, and which he screwed on to the staple in such 
a manner as to render it impossible to withdraw it, or open the 
door, unless by breaking it down. The page held a light to 
him during the operation, which his master went through with 
much exactness and dexterity. But when Albert arose from 
his knee, on which he had rested during the accomplishment 
of this task, the manner of the companions was on the sudden 
entirely changed towards each other. The honourable Master 
Kerneguy, from a cubbish lout of a raw Scotsman, seemed to 
have acquired at once all the grace and ease of motion and 
manner, which could be given by an acquaintance of the 
earliest and most familiar kind with the best company of the 
time. 

He gave the light he held to Albert, with the easy indiffer- 
ence of a superior, who rather graces than troubles his dependent 
by giving him some slight service to perform. Albert, with 
the greatest appearance of deference, assumed in his turn the 
character of torch-bearer, and lighted his page across the 
chamber, without turning his back upon him as he did so. He 
then set the light on the table by the bedside, and approaching 
the young man with deep reverence, received from him the 
soiled green jacket, with the same profound respect as if he had 
been a first lord of the bedchamber, or other officer of the house- « 
hold of the highest distinction, disrobing his Sovereign of the 
Mantle of the Garter. The person to whom this ceremony was 
addressed endured it for a minute or two with profound gravity, 
and then bursting out a-laughing, exclaimed to Albert, " What | 
a devil means all this formality ? — thou complimentest with 



WOODSTOCK 



219 



these miserable rags as if they were silks and sables, and 
with poor Louis Kerneguy as if he were the King of Great 
Britain ! " 

"And if your Majesty's commands, and the circumstances 
of the time, have made me for a moment seem to forget that 
you are my sovereign, surely I may be permitted to render my 
homage as such while you are in your own royal palace of 
Woodstock ? " 

u Truly," replied the disguised Monarch, " the sovereign and 
the palace are not ill matched; — these tattered hangings and 
my ragged jerkin suit each other admirably. — This Woodstock ! 
— this the bower where the royal Norman revelled with the 
fair Rosamond Clifford ! — Why, it is a place of assignation for 
owls!" Then, suddenly recollecting himself, with his natural 
courtesy, he added, as if fearing he might have hurt Albert's 
feelings — " But the more obscure and retired, it is the fitter for 
our purpose, Lee ; and if it does seem to be a roost for owls, as 
there is no denying, why we know it has nevertheless brought 
up eagles." 

He threw himself as he spoke upon a chair, and indolently, 
but gracefully, received the kind offices of Albert, who undid 
the coarse buttonings of the leathern gamashes which defended 
his legs, and spoke to him the whilst : — " What a fine specimen 
of the olden time is your father, Sir Henry ! It is strange I 
should not have seen him before ; — but I heard my father often 
speak of him as being among the flower of our real old English 
gentry. By the mode in which he began to school me, I can 
guess you had a tight taskmaster of him, Albert — I warrant you 
never wore hat in his presence, eh ? " 

" I never cocked it at least in his presence, please your 
Majesty, as I have seen some youngsters do," answered Albert ; 
"indeed if I had, it must have been a stout beaver to have 
saved me from a broken head." 

"Oh, I doubt it not," replied the King; "a fine old gentle- 
man — but with that, methinks, in his countenance, that assures 
you he would not hate the child in sparing the rod. — Hark ye, 
Albert — Suppose the same glorious Restoration come round — 
which, if drinking to its arrival can hasten it, should not be far 
distant, — for in that particular our adherents never neglect 
their duty, — suppose it come, therefore, and that thy father, 
as must be of course, becomes an Earl and one of the Privy 
Council, oddsfish, man, I shall be as much afraid of him as ever 
was my grandfather Henri Quatre of old Sully. — Imagine there 
were such a trinket now about the Court as the Fair Rosamond, 
or La Belle Gabrielle, what a work there would be of pages, 
and grooms of the chamber, to get the pretty rogue clan- 
destinely shuffled out by the backstairs, like a prohibited 



220 



WOODSTOCK 



commodity, when the step of the Earl of Woodstock was heard 
in the antechamber ! " 

" I am glad to see your Majesty so merry after your fatiguing 
journey." 

" The fatigue was nothing, man," said Charles ; " a kind 
welcome and a good meal made amends for all that. But they 
must have suspected thee of bringing a wolf from the braes of 
Badenoch along with you, instead of a two-legged being, with 
no more than the usual allowance of mortal stowage for provi- 
sions. I was really ashamed of my appetite ; but thou knowest 
I had eat nothing for twenty-four hours, save the raw egg you 
stole for me from the old woman's hen-roost — I tell thee, I 
blushed to show myself so ravenous before that high-bred and 
respectable old gentleman your father, and the very pretty girl 
your sister — or cousin, is she ? " 

" She is my sister," said Albert Lee dryly, and added, in the 
same breath, f f Your Majesty's appetite suited well enough with 
the character of a raw northern lad. — Would your Majesty now 
please to retire to rest ? " 

" Not for a minute or two," said the King, retaining his seat. 
" Why, man, I have scarce had my tongue unchained to-day ; 
and to talk with that northern twang, and besides, the fatigue 
of being obliged to speak every word in character, — Gad, it's 
like walking as the galley-slaves do on the Continent, with a 
twenty-four pound shot chained to their legs — they may drag 
it along, but they cannot move with comfort. And, by the 
way, thou art slack in paying me my well-deserved tribute of 
compliments on my counterfeiting. — Did I not play Louis 
Kerneguy as round as a ring ? " 

" If your Majesty asks my serious opinion, perhaps I may be 
forgiven if I say your dialect was somewhat too coarse for a 
Scottish youth of high birth, and your behaviour perhaps a 
little too churlish. I thought too — though I pretend not to be 
skilful — that some of your Scottish sounded as if it were not 
genuine." 

"Not genuine? — there is no pleasing thee, Albert. — Why, 
who should speak genuine Scottish but myself? — Was I not 
their King for a matter of ten months ? and if I did not get 
knowledge of their language, I wonder what else I got by it. 
Did not east country, and south country, and west country, 
and Highlands, caw, croak, and shriek about me, as the deep 
guttural, the broad drawl, and the high sharp yelp predomi- 
nated by turns ? — Oddsfish, man, have I not been speeched at 
by their orators, addressed by their senators, rebuked by their 
kirkmen ? Have I not sat on the cutty-stool, mon [again 
assuming the northern dialect], and thought it grace of worthy 
Mas John Gillespie, that I was permitted to do penance in mine 



WOODSTOCK 221 

own privy chamber, instead of the face of the congregation ? 
and wilt thou tell me, after all, that I cannot speak Scotch 
enough to baffle an Oxon Knight and his family ? " 

"May it please your Majesty, — I began by saying I was no 
judge of the Scottish language." 

" Pshaw — it is mere envy ; just so you said at Norton's, that 
I was too courteous and civil for a young page — now you think 
me too rude." 

"And there is a medium, if one could find it," said Albert, 
defending his opinion in the same tone in which the King 
attacked him ; (t so this morning, when you were in the woman's 
dress, you raised your petticoats rather unbecomingly high, as 
you waded through the first little stream ; and when I told 
you of it, to mend the matter, you draggled through the next 
without raising them at all." 

" Oh, the devil take the woman's dress ! " said Charles ; " I 
hope I shall never be driven to that disguise again. Why, my 
ugly face was enough to put gowns, caps, and kirtles out of 
fashion for ever — the very dogs fled from me — Had I passed 
any hamlet that had but five huts in it, I could not have escaped 
the cucking-stool. — I was a libel on womanhood. These leathern 
conveniences are none of the gayest, but they are propria quce 
maribus ; and right glad am I to be repossessed of them. I 
can tell you too, my friend, I shall resume all my masculine 
privileges with my proper habiliments ; and as you say I have 
been too coarse to-night, I will behave myself like a courtier to 
Mistress Alice to-morrow. I made a sort of acquaintance with 
her already, when I seemed to be of the same sex with herself, 
and found out there are other Colonels in the wind besides you, 
Colonel Albert Lee." 

"May it please your Majesty," said Albert — and then stopped 
short, from the difficulty of finding words to express the un- 
pleasant nature of his feelings. They could not escape Charles ; 
but he proceeded without scruple. " I pique myself on seeing 
as far into the hearts of young ladies as most folk, though God 
knows they are sometimes too deep for the wisest of us. But 
I mentioned to your sister in my character of fortune-teller, — 
thinking, poor simple man, that a country girl must have no 
one but her brother to dream about, — that she was anxious 
about a certain Colonel. I had hit the theme, but not the 
person ; for I alluded to you, Albert ; and I presume the blush 
was too deep ever to be given to a brother. So up she got, and 
away she flew from me like a lapwing. I can excuse her — for, 
looking at myself in the well, I think if I had met such a 
creature as I seemed, I should have called fire and fagot against 
it. — Now, what think you, Albert — who can this Colonel be, 
that more than rivals you in your sister's affection ? " 



222 



WOODSTOCK 



Albert, who well knew that the King's mode of thinking, 
where the fair sex was concerned, was far more gay than 
delicate, endeavoured to put a stop to the present topic by a 
grave answer. 

" His sister," he said, ft had been in some measure educated 
with the son of her maternal uncle, Markham Everard ; but as 
his father and he himself had adopted the cause of the round- 
heads, the families had in consequence been at variance ; and 
any projects which might have been formerly entertained, were 
of course long since dismissed on all sides." 

"You are wrong, Albert, you are wrong," said the King, 
pitilessly pursuing his jest. " You Colonels, whether you wear 
blue or orange sashes, are too pretty fellows to be dismissed so 
easily, when once you have acquired an interest. But Mistress 
Alice, so pretty, and who wishes the restoration of the King 
with such a look and accent, as if she were an angel whose 
prayers must needs bring it down, must not be allowed to 
retain any thoughts of a canting roundhead — What say you — 
will you give me leave to take her to task about it ? — After all, 
I am the party most concerned in maintaining true allegiance 
among my subjects; and if I gain the pretty maiden's good 
will, that of the sweetheart's will soon follow. This was jolly 
King Edward's way — Edward the Fourth, you know. The 
king-making Earl of Warwick — the Cromwell of his day — 
dethroned him more than once ; but he had the hearts of the 
merry dames of London, and the purses and veins of the cock- 
neys bled freely, till they brought him home again. How say 
you ? — shall I shake off my northern slough, and speak with 
Alice in my own character, showing what education and 
manners have done for me, to make the best amends they can 
for an ugly face ? " 

" May it please your Majesty," said Albert, in an altered and 
embarrassed tone, " I did not expect" 

Here he stopped, not able to find words adequate at the same 
time to express his sentiments, and respectful enough to the 
King, while in his father's house, and under his own protection. 

" And what is it that Master Lee does not expect ? " said 
Charles, with marked gravity on his part. 

Again Albert attempted a reply, but advanced no farther 
than, " I would hope, if it please your Majesty " — when he again 
stopped short, his deep and hereditary respect for his sovereign, 
and his sense of the hospitality due to his misfortunes, prevent- 
ing his giving utterance to his irritated feelings. 

"And what does Colonel Albert Lee hope ?" said Charles, in 
the same dry and cold manner in which he had before spoken. — 
" No answer ? — Now, / hope that Colonel Lee does not see in a 
silly jest anything offensive to the honour of his family, since 



WOODSTOCK 



223 



methinks that were an indifferent compliment to his sister, his 
father, and himself, not to mention Charles Stewart, whom he 
calls his King ; and / expect, that I shall not be so hardly con- 
strued, as to be supposed capable of forgetting that Mistress 
Alice Lee is the daughter of my faithful subject and host, and 
the sister of my guide and preserver. — Come, come, Albert," he 
added, changing at once to his naturally frank and unceremo- 
nious manner, "you forget how long I have been abroad, where 
men, women, and children talk gallantry morning, noon, and 
night, with no more serious thought than just to pass away the 
time ; and I forget, too, that you are of the old-fashioned 
English school, a son after Sir Henry's own heart, and don't 
understand raillery upon such subjects. — But I ask your pardon, 
Albert, sincerely, if I have really hurt you." 

So saying, he extended his hand to Colonel Lee, who, feeling 
he had been rather too hasty in construing the King's jest in 
an unpleasant sense, kissed it with reverence, and attempted 
an apology. 

"Not a word — not a word," said the good-natured Prince, 
raising his penitent adherent as he attempted to kneel ; " we 
understand each other. You are somewhat afraid of the gay 
reputation which I acquired in Scotland ; but I assure you, I 
will be as stupid as you or your cousin Colonel could desire, in 
presence of Mistress Alice Lee, and only bestow my gallantry, 
should I have any to throw away, upon the pretty little 
waiting-maid who attended at supper — unless you should have 
monopolised her ear for your own benefit, Colonel Albert ? " 

"It is monopolised, sure enough, though not by me, if it 
please your Majesty, but by Joceline Joliffe, the under-keeper, 
whom we must not disoblige, as we have trusted him so far 
already, and may have occasion to repose even entire confidence 
in him. I half think he suspects who Louis Kerneguy may in 
reality be." 

"You are an engrossing set, you wooers of Woodstock," said 
the King, laughing. " Now, if I had a fancy, as a Frenchman 
would not fail to have in such a case, to make pretty speeches 
to the deaf old woman I saw in the kitchen, as a pisaller, I dare 
say I should be told that her ear was engrossed for Dr. Roche- 
clifFe's sole use ? " 

"I marvel at your Majesty's good spirits," said Albert, "that 
after a day of danger, fatigue, and accidents, you should feel 
the power of amusing yourself thus." 

" That is to say, the groom of the chambers wishes his 
Majesty would go to sleep ? — Well, one word or two on more 
serious business, and I have done. — I have been completely 
directed by you and Rochecliffe — I have changed my disguise 
from female to male upon the instant, and altered my destina- 



224 



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tion from Hampshire to take shelter here — Do you still hold it 
the wiser course ? " 

" I have great confidence in Dr. Rochecliffe," replied Albert, 
te whose acquaintance with the scattered royalists enables him to 
gain the most accurate intelligence. His pride in the extent of his 
correspondence, and the complication of his plots and schemes for 
your Majesty's service, is indeed the very food he lives upon ; but 
his sagacity is equal to his vanity. I repose, besides, the utmost 
faith in Joliffe. Of my father and sister I would say nothing ; 
yet I would not, without reason, extend the knowledge of your 
Majesty's person farther than it is indispensably necessary." 

" Is it handsome in me," said Charles, pausing, H to withhold 
my full confidence from Sir Henry Lee ? " 

"Your Majesty heard of his almost death-swoon of last night 
— what would agitate him most deeply must not be hastily 
communicated." 

" True ; but are we safe from a visit of the red-coats — they 
have them in Woodstock as well as in Oxford ? " said Charles. 

"Dr. Rochecliffe says, not unwisely," answered Lee, "that 
it is best sitting near the fire when the chimney smokes; and 
that Woodstock, so lately in possession of the sequestrators, and 
still in the vicinity of the soldiers, will be less suspected, and 
more carelessly searched, than more distant corners, which 
might seem to promise more safely. "Besides," he added, 
" Rochecliffe is in possession of curious and important news 
concerning the state of matters at Woodstock, highly favourable 
to your Majesty's being concealed in the palace for two or three 
days, till shipping is provided. The Parliament, or usurping 
Council of State, had sent down sequestrators, whom their own 
evil conscience, assisted, perhaps, by the tricks of some daring 
cavaliers, had frightened out of the Lodge, without much desire 
to come back again. Then the more formidable usurper, Crom- 
well, had granted a warrant of possession to Colonel Everard, 
who had only used it for the purpose of repossessing his uncle in 
the Lodge, and who kept watch in person at the little borough, 
to see that Sir Henry was not disturbed." 

" What ! Mistress Alice's Colonel ? " said the King — " that 
sounds alarming ; — for grant that he keeps the other fellows at 
bay, think you not, Master Albert, he will have an hundred 
errands a-day to bring him here in person ? " 

" Dr. Rochecliffe says," answered Lee, " the treaty between 
Sir Henry and his nephew binds the latter not to approach 
the Lodge, unless invited ; — indeed, it was not without great 
difficulty, and strongly arguing the good consequences it might 
produce to your Majesty's cause, that my father could be pre- 
vailed on to occupy Woodstock at all : but be assured he will 
be in no hurry to send an invitation to the Colonel." 



WOODSTOCK 



225 



" And be you assured that the Colonel will come without wait- 
ing for one/' said Charles. "Folk cannot judge rightly where 
sisters are concerned — they are too familiar with the magnet 
to judge of its powers of attraction. — Everard will be here, as 
if drawn by cart-ropes — fetters, not to talk of promises, will 
not hold him — and then, methinks, we are in some danger." 

" I hope not," said Albert. " In the first place, I know 
Markham is a slave to his word ; besides, were any chance to 
bring him here, I think I could pass your Majesty upon him 
without difficulty, as Louis Kerneguy. Then, although my 
cousin and I have not been on good terms for these some years, 
I believe him incapable of betraying your Majesty; and lastly, 
if I saw the least danger of it, I would, were he ten times the 
son of my mother's sister, run my sword through his body, ere 
he had time to execute his purpose." 

"There is but another question," said Charles, "and I will 
release you, Albert : — You seem to think yourself secure from 
search. It may be so ; but, in any other country, this tale of 
goblins which is flying about would bring down priests and 
ministers of justice to examine the reality of the story, and 
mobs of idle people to satisfy their curiosity." 

"Respecting the first, sir, we hope and understand that 
Colonel Everard's influence will prevent any immediate inquiry, 
for the sake of preserving undisturbed the peace of his uncle's 
family ; and as for any one coming without some sort of 
authority, the whole neighbours have so much love and fear 
of my father, and are, besides, so horribly alarmed about the 
goblins of Woodstock, that fear will silence curiosity." 

" On the whole, then," said Charles, " the chances of safety 
seem to be in favour of the plan we have adopted, which is all 
I can hope for in a condition where absolute safety is out of the 
question. The Bishop recommended Dr. Rochecliffe as one of 
the most ingenious, boldest, and most loyal sons of the Church 
of England ; you, Albert Lee, have marked your fidelity by a 
hundred proofs. To you and your local knowledge I submit 
myself. — And now prepare our arms — alive I will not be taken ; 
yet I will not believe that a son of the King of England, and 
heir of her throne, could be destined to danger in his own 
palace, and under the guard of the loyal Lees." 

Albert Lee laid pistols and swords in readiness by the King's 
bed and his own ; and Charles, after some slight apology, took 
his place in the larger and better bed, with a sigh of pleasure, 
as from one who had not lately enjoyed such an indulgence. 
He bid good night to his faithful attendant, who deposited 
himself on his truckle; and both monarch and subject were 
soon fast asleep. 



p 



226 



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CHAPTER XXII 

Give Sir Nicholas Threlkeld praise ; 
Hear it, good man, old in days, 
Thou tree of succour and of rest 
To this young bird that was distress'd ; 
Beneath thy branches he did stay ; 
And he was free to sport and play, 
When falcons were abroad for prey. 

—Wordsworth. 

The fugitive Prince slept, in spite of danger, with the profound 
repose which youth and fatigue inspire. But the young cavalier, 
his guide and guard, spent a more restless night, starting from 
time to time, and listening ; anxious, notwithstanding Dr. 
RocheclifFe's assurances, to procure yet more particular knowledge 
concerning the state of things around them, than he had been 
yet able to collect. 

He rose early after daybreak ; but although he moved with 
as little noise as was possible, the slumbers of the hunted Prince 
were easily disturbed. He started up in his bed, and asked if 
there was any alarm. 

"None, please your Majesty," replied Lee; "only, thinking 
on the questions your Majesty was asking last night, and the 
various chances there are of your Majesty's safety being en- 
dangered from unforeseen accidents, I thought of going thus 
early, both to communicate with Dr. RocheclifFe, and to keep 
such a look-out as befits the place, where are lodged for the 
time the fortunes of England. I fear I must request of your 
Majesty, for your own gracious security, that you have the 
goodness to condescend to secure the door with your own hand 
after I go out/' 

" Oh, talk not to Majesty, for Heaven's sake, dear Albert ! * 
answered the poor King, endeavouring in vain to put on a part 
of his clothes, in order to traverse the room. — " When a King's 
doublet and hose are so ragged that he can no more find his 
way into them than he could have travelled through the forest 
of Deane without a guide, good faith, there should be an end 
of Majesty, until it chances to be better accommodated. Be- 
sides, there is the chance of these big words bolting out at 
unawares, when there are ears to hear them whom we might 
think dangerous." 

" Your commands shall be obeyed," said Lee, who had now 
succeeded in opening the door ; from which he took his de- 
parture, leaving the King, who had hustled along the floor for 
that purpose, with his dress wofully ill arranged, to make it 
fast again behind him, and begging him in no case to open 



WOODSTOCK 



227 



to any one, unless he or Rochecliffe were of the party who 
summoned him. 

Albert then set out in quest of Dr. Rochecliffe's apartment, 
which was only known to himself and the faithful Joliffe, and 
had at different times accommodated that steady churchman 
with a place of concealment, when, from his bold and busy 
temper which led him into the most extensive and hazardous 
machinations on the King's behalf, he had been strictly sought 
after by the opposite party. Of late, the inquest after him had 
died entirely away, as he had prudently withdrawn himself 
from the scene of his intrigues. Since the loss of the battle 
of Worcester he had been afloat again, and more active than 
ever ; and had, by friends and correspondents, and especially 

the Bishop of , been the means of directing the King's 

flight towards Woodstock, although it was not until the very 
day of his arrival that he could promise him a safe reception at 
that ancient mansion. 

Albert Lee, though he revered both the undaunted spirit and 
ready resources of the bustling and intriguing churchman, felt 
he had not been enabled by him to answer some of Charles's 
questions yesternight, in a way so distinct as one trusted with 
the King's safety ought to have done ; and it was now his 
object to make himself personally acquainted, if possible, with 
the various bearings of so weighty a matter, as became a man 
on whom so much of the responsibility was likely to descend. 

Even his local knowledge was scarce adequate to find the 
Doctor's secret apartment, had he not traced his way after a 
genial flavour of roasted game through divers blind passages, 
and up and down certain very useless stairs, through cupboards 
and hatchways, and so forth, to a species of sanctum sanctorum, 
where Joceline Joliffe was ministering to the good Doctor a 
solemn breakfast of wild-fowl, with a cup of small beer stirred 
with a sprig of rosemary, which Dr. Rochecliffe preferred to all 
strong potations. Beside him sat Bevis on his tail, slobbering 
and looking amiable, moved by the rare smell of the breakfast, 
which had quite overcome his native dignity of disposition. 

The chamber in which the Doctor had established himself 
was a little octangular room, with walls of great thickness, 
within which were fabricated various issues, leading in different 
directions, and communicating with different parts of the build- 
ing. Around him were packages with arms, and near him one 
small barrel, as it seemed, of gunpowder ; many papers in 
different parcels, and several keys for correspondence in cipher ; 
two or three scrolls covered with hieroglyphics were also beside 
him, which Albert took for plans of nativity ; and various 
models of machinery, in which Dr. Rochecliffe was an adept. 
There were also tools of various kinds, masks, cloaks, and a 



228 



WOODSTOCK 



dark lantern, and a number of other indescribable trinkets 
belonging to the trade of a daring plotter in dangerous times. 
Last, there was a casket with gold and silver coin of different 
countries, which was left carelessly open, as if it were the least 
of Dr. Rochecliffe's concern, although his habits in general 
announced narrow circumstances, if not actual poverty. Close 
by the divine's plate lay a Bible and Prayer-book, with some 
proof-sheets, as they are technically called, seemingly fresh 
from the press. There were also within the reach of his hand 
a dirk, or Scottish poniard, a powder-horn, and a musketoon, or 
blunderbuss, with a pair of handsome pocket-pistols. In the 
midst of this miscellaneous collection, the Doctor sat eating his 
breakfast with great appetite, as little dismayed by the various 
implements of danger around him, as a workman is when ac- 
customed to the perils of a gunpowder manufactory. 

te Soh, young gentleman," he said, getting up, and extending 
his hand, " are you come to breakfast with me in good fellow- 
ship, or to spoil my meal this morning, as you did my supper 
last night, by asking untimely questions ? " 

(C I will pick a bone with you with all my heart," said Albert ; 
"and if you please, Doctor, I would ask some questions which 
seem not quite untimely." 

So saying he sat down, and assisted the Doctor in giving a 
very satisfactory account of a brace of wild ducks and a leash of 
teal. Bevis, who maintained his place with great patience and 
insinuation, had his share of a collop, which was also placed on 
the well-furnished board ; for, like most high-bred dogs, he 
declined eating waterfowl. 

" Come hither, then, Albert Lee," said the Doctor, laying 
down his knife and fork, and plucking the towel from his 
throat, so soon as Joceline was withdrawn ; " thou art still the 
same lad thou wert when I was thy tutor — never satisfied with 
having got a grammar rule, but always persecuting me with 
questions why the rule stood so, and not otherwise — over- 
curious after information which thou couldst not comprehend, 
as Bevis slobbered and whined for the duck-wing, which he 
could not eat." 

" I hope you will find me more reasonable, Doctor," answered 
Albert ; " and at the same time, that you will recollect I am 
not now sub ferula, but am placed in circumstances where I am 
not at liberty to act upon the ipse dixit of any man, unless my 
own judgment be convinced. I shall deserve richly to be 
hanged, drawn, and quartered, should any misfortune happen 
by my misgovernment in this business." 

"And it is therefore, Albert, that I would have thee trust 
the whole to me, without interfering. Thou sayest, forsooth, j 
thou art not sub ferula ; but recollect that while you have been 



WOODSTOCK 229 

fighting in the field, I have been plotting in the study — that I 
know all the combinations of the King's friends, ay, and all 
the motions of his enemies, as well as a spider knows every 
mesh of his web. Think of my experience, man. Not a 
cavalier in the land but has heard of RocheclifFe the Plotter. 
I have been a main limb in everything that has been attempted 
since forty-two — penned declarations, conducted correspondence, 
communicated with chiefs, recruited followers, commissioned 
arms, levied money, appointed rendezvouses. I was in the 
Western Rising ; and before that, in the City Petition, and in 
Sir John Owen's stir in Wales ; in short, almost in every plot 
for the King, since Tomkins and Challoner's matter." 

"But were not all these plots unsuccessful?" said Albert; 
" and were not Tomkins and Challoner hanged, Doctor ? " 

ts Yes, my young friend," answered the Doctor gravely, a as 
many others have been with whom T have acted; but only 
because they did not follow my advice implicitly. You never 
heard that I was hanged myself." 

"The time may come, Doctor," said Albert; "the pitcher 
goes oft to the well — The proverb, as my father would say, is 
somewhat musty. But I, too, have some confidence in my own 
judgment ; and, much as I honour the Church, I cannot alto- 
gether subscribe to passive obedience. I will tell you in one 
word what points I must have explanation on ; and it will 
remain with you to give it, or to return a message to the King 
that you will not explain your plan ; in which case, if he acts 
by my advice, he will leave Woodstock, and resume his purpose 
of getting to the coast without delay." 

"Well, then," said the Doctor, "thou suspicious monster, 
make thy demands, and, if they be such as I can answer without 
betraying confidence, I will reply to them." 

" In the first place, then, what is all this story about ghosts, 
and witchcrafts, and apparitions ? and do you consider it as safe 
for his Majesty to stay in a house subject to such visitations, 
real or pretended ? " 

" You must be satisfied with my answer in verbo sacerdotis — 
the circumstances you allude to will not give the least annoy- 
ance to Woodstock during the King's residence. I cannot 
explain farther ; but for this I will be bound, at the risk of 
my neck." 

"Then," said Lee, "we must take Dr. Rochecliffe's bail that 
the devil will keep the peace towards our Sovereign Lord the 
King — good. Now there lurked about this house the greater 
part of yesterday, and perhaps slept here, a fellow called 
Tomkins, — a bitter Independent, and a secretary, or clerk, or 
something or other, to the regicide dog Desborough. The man 
is well known — a wild ranter in religious opinions, but in 



2 3 o WOODSTOCK 

private affairs far-sighted, cunning, and interested even as any 
rogue of them all." 

"Be assured we will avail ourselves of his crazy fanaticism 
to mislead his wicked cunning ; — a child may lead a hog if it 
has wit to fasten a cord to the ring in its nose/' replied the 
Doctor. 

" You may be deceived/' said Albert ; " the age has many 
such as this fellow, whose views of the spiritual and temporal 
world are so different, that they resemble the eyes of a squinting 
man ; one of which, oblique and distorted, sees nothing but the 
end of his nose, while the other, instead of partaking the same 
defect, views strongly, sharply, and acutely, whatever is sub- 
jected to its scrutiny." 

" But we will put a patch on the better eye," said the Doctor, 
" and he shall only be allowed to speculate with the imperfect 
optic. You must know, this fellow has always seen the 
greatest number, and the most hideous apparitions ; he has not 
the courage of a cat in such matters, though stout enough 
when he hath temporal antagonists before him. I have placed 
him under the charge of Joceline Joliffe, who, betwixt plying 
him with sack and ghost-stories, would make him incapable of 
knowing what was done, if you were to proclaim the King in 
his presence." 

" But why keep such a fellow here at all ? " 

" Oh, sir, content you ; — he lies leaguer, as a sort of ambas- 
sador, for his worthy masters, and we are secure from any 
intrusion so long as they get all the news of Woodstock from 
Trusty Tomkins." 

" I know Joceline's honesty well," said Albert ; " and if he 
can assure me that he will keep a watch over this fellow, I will 
so far trust in him. He does not know the depth of the stake, 
'tis true, but that my life is concerned will be quite enough to 
keep him vigilant. — Well, then, I proceed: — What if Markham 
Everard comes down on us?" 

" We have his word to the contrary," answered Rochecliffe — 
" his word of honour, transmitted by his friend : — Do you think 
it likely he will break it ? " 

" I hold him incapable of doing so," answered Albert ; " and 
besides, I think Markham would make no bad use of any- 
thing which might come to his knowledge — Yet God forbid 
we should be under the necessity of trusting any who ever 
wore the Parliament's colours in a matter of such dear con- 
cernment ! " 

" Amen ! " said the Doctor. — " Are your doubts silenced 
now ? " 

"I still have an objection," said Albert, "to yonder impudent 
rakehelly fellow, styling himself a cavalier, who pushed himself 



WOODSTOCK 231 

on our company last night, and gained my father's heart by a 
story of the storm of Brentford, which I dare say the rogue 
never saw." 

" You mistake him, dear Albert," replied Rochecliffe — " Roger 
Wildrake, although till of late I only knew him by name, is a 
gentleman, was bred at the Inns of Court, and spent his estate 
in the King's service." 

" Or rather in the devil's service," said Albert. " It is such 
fellows as he, who, sunk from the licence of their military habits 
into idle debauched ruffians, infest the land with riots and 
robberies, brawl in hedge alehouses and cellars where strong 
waters are sold at midnight, and, with their deep oaths, their hot 
loyalty, and their drunken valour, make decent men abominate 
the very name of cavalier." 

" Alas ! " said the Doctor, " it is but too true ; but what can 
you expect ? When the higher and more qualified classes are 
broken down and mingled undistinguishably with the lower 
orders, they are apt to lose the most valuable marks of their 
quality in the general confusion of morals and manners — just 
as a handful of silver medals will become defaced and dis- 
coloured if j umbled about among the vulgar copper coin. Even 
the prime medal of all, which we royalists would so willingly 
wear next our very hearts, has not, perhaps, entirely escaped 
some deterioration. — But let other tongues than mine speak on 
that subject." 

Albert Lee paused deeply after having heard these commu- 
nications on the part of Rochecliffe. " Doctor," he said, " it is 
generally agreed, even by some who think you may occasionally 
have been a little over-busy in putting men upon dangerous 
actions " 

" May God forgive them who entertain so false an opinion of 
me," said the Doctor. 

" That, nevertheless, you have done and suffered more 

in the King's behalf than any man of your function." 

"They do me but justice there," said Dr. Rochecliffe — 
" absolute justice." 

"I am therefore disposed to abide by your opinion, if, all 
things considered, you think it safe that we should remain at 
Woodstock." 

a That is not the question," answered the divine. 

" And what is the question, then ? " replied the young soldier. 

" Whether any safer course can be pointed out. I grieve to 
say, that the question must be comparative, as to the point 
of option. Absolute safety is — alas the while ! — out of the 
question on all sides. Now, I say Woodstock is, fenced and 
guarded as at present, by far the most preferable place of 
concealment." 



232 WOODSTOCK 

" Enough," replied Albert ; " I give up to you the question, 
as to a person whose knowledge of such important affairs, not 
to mention your age and experience, is more intimate and 
extensive than mine can be." 

" You do well," answered Rochecliffe ; " and if others had 
acted with the like distrust of their own knowledge, and con- 
fidence in competent persons, it had been better for the age. 
This makes Understanding bar himself up within his fortalice, 
and Wit betake himself to his high tower." (Here he looked 
around his cell with an air of self-complacence.) "The wise 
man foreseeth the tempest and hideth himself." 

"Doctor," said Albert, "let our foresight serve others far 
more precious than either of us. Let me ask you, if you have 
well considered whether our precious charge should remain in 
society with the family, or betake himself to some of the more 
hidden corners of the house ? " 

" Hum ! " said the Doctor, with an air of deep reflection — 
" I think he will be safest as Louis Kerneguy, keeping himself 
close beside you" 

u I fear it will be necessary/' added Albert, " that I scout 
abroad a little, and show myself in some distant part of the 
country, lest, coming here in quest of me, they should find 
higher game." 

" Pray do not interrupt me — Keeping himself close beside 
you or your father, in or near to Victor Lee's apartment, from 
which you are aware he can make a ready escape, should danger 
approach. This occurs to me as best for the present — I hope 
to hear of the vessel to-day — to-morrow at farthest." 

Albert Lee bid the active but opinionated man good-morrow ; 
admiring how this species of intrigue had become a sort of ele- 
ment in which the Doctor seemed to enjoy himself, notwith- 
standing all that the poet has said concerning the horrors 
which intervene betwixt the conception and execution of a 
conspiracy. 

In returning from Dr. RocheclifFe's sanctuary, he met with 
Joceline, who was anxiously seeking him. " The young Scotch 
gentleman," he said, in a mysterious manner, " has arisen from 
bed, and, hearing me pass, he called me into his apartment." 

" Well," replied Albert, " I will see him presently." 

" And he asked me for fresh linen and clothes. Now, sir, he 
is like a man who is quite accustomed to be obeyed, so I gave 
him a suit which happened to be in a wardrobe in the west 
tower, and some of your linen to conform ; and when he was 
dressed, he commanded me to show him to the presence of Sir 
Henry Lee and my young lady. I would have said something, 
sir, about waiting till you came back, but he pulled me good- 
naturedly by the hair (as, indeed, he has a rare humour of his 



WOODSTOCK 



233 



own), and told me, he was guest to Master Albert Lee, and not 
his prisoner ; so, sir, though I thought you might be displeased 
with me for giving him the means of stirring abroad, and per- 
haps being seen by those who should not see him, what could 
I say ? " 

" You are a sensible fellow, Joceline, and comprehend always 
what is recommended to you. This youth will not be con- 
trolled, I fear, by either of us ; but we must look the closer 
after his safety. You keep your watch over that prying fellow 
the steward ? " 

"Trust him to my care — on that side have no fear. But 
ah, sir ! I would we had the young Scot in his old clothes 
again, for the riding-suit of yours which he now wears hath 
set him off in other-guess fashion." 

From the manner in which the faithful dependent expressed 
himself, Albert saw that he suspected who the Scottish page in 
reality was ; yet he did not think it proper to acknowledge to 
him a fact of such importance, secure as he was equally of his 
fidelity, whether explicitly trusted to the full extent, or left to 
his own conjectures. Full of anxious thought, he went to the 
apartment of Victor Lee, in which JolifFe told him he would 
find the party assembled. The sound of laughter, as he laid 
his hand on the lock of the door, almost made him start, so 
singularly did it jar with the doubtful and melancholy reflec- 
tions which engaged his own mind. He entered, and found 
his father in high good-humour, laughing and conversing freely 
with his young charge, whose appearance was, indeed, so much 
changed to the better in externals, that it seemed scarce pos- 
sible a night's rest, a toilet, and a suit of decent clothes, could 
have done so much in his favour in so short a time. It could 
not, however, be imputed to the mere alteration of dress, 
although that, no doubt, had its effect. There was nothing 
splendid in that which Louis Kerneguy (we continue to call 
him by his assumed name) now wore. It was merely a riding- 
suit of grey cloth, with some silver lace, in the fashion of a 
country gentleman of the time. But it happened to fit him 
very well, and to become his very dark complexion, especially 
as he now held up his head, and used the manners, not only 
of a well-behaved, but of a highly-accomplished gentleman. 
When he moved, his clumsy and awkward limp was exchanged 
for a sort of shuffle, which, as it might be the consequence of 
a wound in those perilous times, had rather an interesting than 
an ungainly effect. At least it was as genteel an expression 
that the party had been over-hard travelled, as the most polite 
pedestrian could propose to himself. 

The features of the Wanderer were harsh as ever, but his red 
shock peruke, for such it proved, was laid aside, his sable elf- 



234 



WOODSTOCK 



locks were trained, by a little of Joceline's assistance, into curls, 
and his fine black eyes shone from among the shade of these 
curls, and corresponded with the animated, though not hand- 
some, character of the whole head. In his conversation, he 
had laid aside all the coarseness of dialect which he had so 
strongly affected on the preceding evening ; and although he 
continued to speak a little Scotch, for the support of his 
character as a young gentleman of that nation, yet it was not 
in a degree which rendered his speech either uncouth or unin- 
telligible, but merely afforded a certain Doric tinge essential to 
the personage he represented. No person on earth could better 
understand the society in which he moved ; exile had made 
him acquainted with life in all its shades and varieties — his 
spirits, if not uniform, were elastic — he had that species of 
Epicurean philosophy, which, even in the most extreme diffi- 
culties and dangers, can, in an interval of ease, however brief, 
avail itself of the enjoyments of the moment — he was, in short, 
in youth and misfortune, as afterwards in his regal condition, 
a good-humoured but hard-hearted voluptuary — wise, save 
where his passions intervened — beneficent, save when prodi- 
gality had deprived him of the means, or prejudice of the wish, 
to confer benefits — his faults such as might often have drawn 
down hatred, but that they were mingled with so much 
urbanity, that the injured person felt it impossible to retain 
the full sense of his wrongs. 

Albert Lee found the party, consisting of his father, sister, 
and the supposed page, seated by the breakfast-table, at which 
he also took his place. He was a pensive and anxious beholder 
of what passed, while the page, who had already completely 
gained the heart of the good old cavalier, by mimicking the 
manner in which the Scottish divines preached in favour of 
Ma gude Lord Marquis of Argyle and the Solemn League and 
Covenant, was now endeavouring to interest the fair Alice by 
such anecdotes, partly of warlike and perilous adventure, as 
possessed the same degree of interest for the female ear which 
they have had ever since Desdemona's days. But it was not 
only of dangers by land and sea that the disguised page spoke ; 
but much more, and much oftener, on foreign revels, banquets, 
balls, where the pride of France, of Spain, or of the Low 
Countries, was exhibited in the eyes of their most eminent 
beauties. Alice being a very young girl, who, in consequence 
of the Civil War, had been almost entirely educated in the 
country, and often in great seclusion, it was certainly no 
wonder that she should listen with willing ears, and a ready 
smile, to what the young gentleman, their guest, and her 
brother's protege, told with so much gaiety, and mingled with 
such a shade of dangerous adventure, and occasionally of 



WOODSTOCK 235 

serious reflection, as prevented the discourse from being re- 
garded as merely light and frivolous. 

In a word, Sir Henry Lee laughed, Alice smiled from time 
to time, and all were satisfied but Albert, who would himself, 
however, have been scarce able to allege a sufficient reason for 
his depression of spirits. 

The materials of breakfast were at last removed, under the 
active superintendence of the neat-handed Phcebe, who looked 
over her shoulder, and lingered more than once, to listen to the 
fluent discourse of their new guest, whom, on the preceding 
evening, she had, while in attendance at supper, accounted one 
of the most stupid inmates to whom the gates of Woodstock 
had been opened since the times of Fair Rosamond. 

Louis Kerneguy then, when they were left only four in the 
chamber, without the interruption of domestics, and the suc- 
cessive bustle occasioned by the discussion and removal of the 
morning meal, became apparently sensible, that his friend and 
ostensible patron Albert ought not altogether to be suffered 
to drop to leeward in the conversation, while he was himself 
successfully engaging the attention of those members of his 
family to whom he had become so recently known. He went 
behind his chair, therefore, and, leaning on the back, said with 
a good-humoured tone, which made his purposes entirely in- 
telligible — 

" Either my good friend, guide, and patron, has heard worse 
news this morning than he cares to tell us, or he must have 
stumbled over my tattered jerkin and leathern hose, and ac- 
quired, by contact, the whole mass of stupidity which I threw 
off last night with those most dolorous garments. Cheer up, my 
dear Colonel Albert, if your affectionate page may presume to 
say so — you are in company with those whose society, dear to 
strangers, must be doubly so to you. Oddsfish, man, cheer up ! 
I have seen you gay on a biscuit and a mouthful of watercresses 
— don't let your heart fail you on Rhenish wine and venison." 

" Dear Louis," said Albert, rousing himself into exertion, 
and somewhat ashamed of his own silence, " I have slept worse, 
and been astir earlier than you." 

" Be it so," said his father ; " yet I hold it no good excuse 
for your sullen silence. Albert, you have met your sister and 
me, so long separated from you, so anxious on your behalf, almost 
like mere strangers, and yet you are returned safe to us, and 
you find us well." 

" Returned indeed — but for safety, my dear father, that word 
must be a stranger to us Worcester folk for some time. How- 
ever, it is not my own safety about which I am anxious." 

" About whose, then, should you be anxious ? — All accounts 
agree that the King is safe out of the dogs' jaws." 



236 



WOODSTOCK 



" Not without some danger, though/' muttered Louis, think- 
ing of his encounter with Bevis on the preceding evening. 

" No, not without danger, indeed, echoed the knight ; " but, 
as old Will says — 

* There's such divinity doth hedge a king, 
That treason dares not peep at what it would.' 

No, no — thank God, that's cared for ; our Hope and Fortune is 
escaped, so all news affirm, escaped from Bristol — if I thought 
otherwise, Albert, I should be as sad as you are. For the rest 
of it, I have lurked a month in this house when discovery would 
have been death, and that is no longer since than after Lord 
Holland and the Duke of Buckingham's rising at Kingston ; 
and hang me, if I thought once of twisting my brow into such 
a tragic fold as yours, but cocked my hat at misfortune as a 
cavalier should." 

" If I might put in a word," said Louis, " it would be, 
to assure Colonel Albert Lee that I verily believe the King 
would think his own hap, wherever he may be, much the 
worse that his best subjects were seized with dejection on his 
account." 

"You answer boldly on the King's part, young man," said 
Sir Henry. 

" Oh, my father was meikle about the King's hand," answered 
Louis, recollecting his present character. 

" No wonder, then," said Sir Henry, " that you have so soon 
recovered your good spirits and good breeding, when you heard 
of his Majesty's escape. Why, you are no more like the lad we 
saw last night, than the best hunter I ever had was like a dray- 
horse." 

" Oh, there is much in rest, and food, and grooming," answered 
Louis. " You would hardly know the tired jade you dismounted 
from last night, when she is brought out prancing and neighing 
the next morning, rested, refreshed, and ready to start again — 
especially if the brute hath some good blood, for such pick up 
unco fast." 

" Well, then, but since thy father was a courtier, and thou 
hast learned, I think, something of the trade, tell us a little, 
Master Kerneguy, of him we love most to hear about — the 
King ; we are all safe and secret, you need not be afraid. He 
was a hopeful youth ; I trust his flourishing blossom now gives 
promise of fruit ? " 

As the knight spoke Louis bent his eyes on the ground, and 
seemed at first uncertain what to answer. But, admirable at 
extricating himself from such dilemmas, he replied, "that he 
really could not presume to speak on such a subject in the 
presence of his patron, Colonel Albert Lee, who must be a 



WOODSTOCK 



237 



much better judge of the character of King Charles than he 
could pretend to be." 

Albert was accordingly next assailed by the knight, seconded 
by Alice, for some account of his Majesty's character. 

f I will speak but according to facts," said Albert ; " and 
then I must be acquitted of partiality. If the King had not 
possessed enterprise and military skill, he never would have 
attempted the expedition to Worcester; — had he not had 
personal courage, he had not so long disputed the battle that 
Cromwell almost judged it lost. That he possesses prudence 
and patience, must be argued from the circumstances attend- 
ing his flight ; and that he has the love of his subjects is 
evident, since, necessarily known to many, he has been betrayed 
by none." 

" For shame, Albert ! " replied his sister ; " is that the way 
a good cavalier doles out the character of his Prince, apply- 
ing an instance at every concession, like a pedlar measuring 
linen with his rod ? — Out upon you ! — no wonder you were 
beaten, if you fought as coldly for your King as you now talk 
for him." 

"I did my best to trace a likeness from what I have seen 
and known of the original, sister Alice," replied her brother. — 
" If you would have a fancy portrait, you must get an artist of 
more imagination that I have to draw it for you." 

u I will be that artist myself," said Alice, " and, in my portrait, 
our Monarch shall show all that he ought to be, having such 
high pretensions — all that he must be, being so loftily descended 
— all that I am sure he is, and that every loyal heart in the 
kingdom ought to believe him." 

" Well said, Alice," quoth the old knight — " Look thou upon 
this picture, and on this ! — Here is our young friend shall judge. 
I wager my best nag — that is, I would wager him had I one 
left — that Alice proves the better painter of the two. — My son's 
brain is still misty, I think, since his defeat — he has not got the 
smoke of Worcester out of it. Plague on thee ! — a young man, 
and cast down for one beating ! Had you been banged twenty 
times like me, it had been time to look grave. — But come, 
Alice, forward ; the colours are mixed on your pallet — forward 
with something that shall show like one of Vandyck's living 
portraits, placed beside the dull dry presentation there of our 
ancestor Victor Lee." 

Alice, it must be observed, had been educated by her father 
in the notions of high and even exaggerated loyalty, which 
characterised the cavaliers, and she was really an enthusiast in 
the royal cause. But, besides, she was in good spirits at her 
brother's happy return, and wished to prolong the gay humour 
in which her father had of late scarcely ever indulged. 



WOODSTOCK 



"Well, then/' she said, "though I am no Apelles, I will try 
to paint an Alexander, such as I hope, and am determined to 
believe, exists in the person of our exiled sovereign, soon I 
trust to be restored. And I will not go farther than his own 
family. He shall have all the chivalrous courage, all the war- 
like skill, of Henry of France, his grandfather, in order to place 
him on the throne ; all his benevolence, love of his people, 
patience even of unpleasing advice, sacrifice of his own wishes 
and pleasures to the commonweal, that, seated there, he may be 
blest while living, and so long remembered when dead, that for 
ages after it shall be thought sacrilege to breathe an aspersion 
against the throne which he has occupied ! Long after he is 
dead, while there remains an old man who has seen him, were 
the condition of that survivor no higher than a groom or a 
menial, his age shall be provided for at the public charge, and 
his grey hairs regarded with more distinction than an earl's 
coronet, because he remembers the Second Charles, the monarch 
of every heart in England ! " 

While Alice spoke, she was hardly conscious of the presence 
of any one save her father and brother ; for the page withdrew 
himself somewhat from the circle, and there was nothing to 
remind her of him. She gave the reins, therefore, to her 
enthusiasm ; and as the tears glittered in her eye, and her 
beautiful features became animated, she seemed like a descended 
cherub proclaiming the virtues of a patriot monarch. The 
person chiefly interested in her description held himself back, 
as we have said, and concealed his own features, yet so as to 
preserve a full view of the beautiful speaker. 

Albert Lee, conscious in whose presence this eulogium was 
pronounced, was much embarrassed ; but his father, all whose 
feelings were flattered by the panegyric, was in rapture. 

"So much for the King, Alice," he said; "and now for the 
Man." 

"For the man," replied Alice, in the same tone, "need I 
wish him more than the paternal virtues of his unhappy father, 
of whom his worst enemies have recorded, that if moral virtues 
and religious faith were to be selected as the qualities which 
merited a crown, no man could plead the possession of them 
in a higher or more indisputable degree. Temperate, wise, 
and frugal, yet munificent in rewarding merit — a friend to 
letters and the muses, but a severe discourager of the misuse 
of such gifts — a worthy gentleman — a kind master — the best 

friend, the best father, the best Christian" Her voice 

began to falter, and her father's handkerchief was already at 
his eyes. 

" He was, girl, he was ! " exclaimed Sir Henry ; " but no 
more on't, I charge ye — no more on't — enough ; let his son 



WOODSTOCK 239 

but possess his virtues, with better advisers, and better for- 
tunes, and he will be all that England, in her warmest wishes, 
could desire." 

There was a pause after this ; for Alice felt as if she had 
spoken too frankly and too zealously for her sex and youth. 
Sir Henry was occupied in melancholy recollections on the fate 
of his late sovereign, while Kerneguy and his supposed patron 
felt embarrassed, perhaps from a consciousness that the real 
Charles fell far short of his ideal character, as designed in such 
glowing colours. In some cases, exaggerated or unappropriate 
praise becomes the most severe satire. 

But such reflections were not of a nature to be long willingly 
cherished by the person to whom they might have been of 
great advantage. He assumed a tone of raillery, which is, 
perhaps, the readiest mode of escaping from the feelings of 
self-reproof. " Every cavalier," he said, " should bend his 
knee to thank Mistress Alice Lee for having made such a flat- 
tering portrait of the King their master, by laying under con- 
tribution for his benefit the virtues of all his ancestors; only 
there was one point he would not have expected a female 
painter to have passed over in silence. When she made him, 
in right of his grandfather and father, a muster of royal and 
individual excellences, why could she not have endowed him 
at the same time with his mother's personal charms ? Why 
should not the son of Henrietta Maria, the finest woman of 
her day, add the recommendations of a handsome face and 
figure to his internal qualities ? He had the same hereditary 
title to good looks as to mental qualifications ; and the picture, 
with such an addition, would be perfect in its way — and God 
send it might be a resemblance ! " 

"I understand you, Master Kerneguy/' said Alice; "but I 
am no fairy, to bestow, as^ those do in the nursery tales, gifts 
which Providence has denied. I am woman enough to have 
made inquiries on the subject, and I know the general report 
is, that the King, to have been the son of such handsome 
parents, is unusually hard-favoured." 

" Good God, sister ! " said Albert, starting impatiently from 
his seat. 

"Why, you yourself told me so," said Alice, surprised at the 
emotion he testified ; " and you said " 

" This is intolerable," muttered Albert ; " I must out to 
speak with Joceline without delay — Louis" (with an imploring 
look to Kerneguy), "you will surely come with me?" 

" I would with all my heart," said Kerneguy, smiling mali- 
ciously ; " but you see how I suffer still from lameness. — Nay, 
nay, Albert," he whispered, resisting young Lee's attempt to 
prevail on him to leave the room, " can you suppose I am fool 



240 WOODSTOCK 

enough to be hurt by this ? — On the contrary, I have a desire 
of profiting by it." 

" May God grant it ! " said Lee to himself, as he left the 
room — et it will be the first lecture you ever profited by ; and 
the devil confound the plots and plotters who made me bring 
you to this place ! " So saying, he carried his discontent forth 
into the Park. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

For there, they say, he daily doth frequent 
With unrestrained loose companions ; 
While he, young, wanton, and effeminate boy, 
Takes on the point of honour, to support 
So dissolute a crew. 

—Richard II. 

The conversation which Albert had in vain endeavoured to 
interrupt, flowed on in the same course after he had left the 
room. It entertained Louis Kerneguy; for personal vanity, 
or an over-sensitiveness to deserved reproof, were not among 
the faults of his character, and were indeed incompatible with 
an understanding, which, combined with more strength of prin- 
ciple, steadiness of exertion, and self-denial, might have placed 
Charles high on the list of English monarchs. On the other 
hand, Sir Henry listened with natural delight to the noble senti- 
ments uttered by a being so beloved as his daughter. His own 
parts were rather steady than brilliant ; and he had that species 
of imagination which is not easily excited without the action of 
another, as the electrical globe only scintillates when rubbed 
against its cushion. He was well pleased, therefore, when 
Kerneguy pursued the conversation, by observing that Mistress 
Alice Lee had not explained how the same good fairy that 
conferred moral qualities, could not also remove corporeal 
blemishes. 

"You mistake, sir," said Alice. "I confer nothing. I do 
but attempt to paint our King such as I hope he is — such as I 
am sure he may be, should he himself desire to be so. The 
same general report which speaks of his countenance as unpre- 
possessing, describes his talents as being of the first order. He 
has, therefore, the means of arriving at excellence, should he 
cultivate them sedulously and employ them usefully — should he 
rule his passions and be guided by his understanding. Every 
good man cannot be wise ; but it is in the power of every wise 
man, if he pleases, to be as eminent for virtue as for talent." 

Young Kerneguy rose briskly, and took a turn through the 
room ; and ere the knight could make any observation on the 



WOODSTOCK 



241 



singular vivacity in which he had indulged, he threw himself 
again into his chair, and said, in rather an altered tone of voice 
— u It seems, then, Mistress Alice Lee, that the good friends 
who have described this poor King to you, have been as un- 
favourable in their account of his morals as of his person ? " 

ft The truth must be better known to you, sir," said Alice, 
" than it can be to me. Some rumours there have been which 
accuse him of a license, which, whatever allowance flatterers 
make for it, does not, to say the least, become the son of the 
Martyr — I shall be happy to have these contradicted on good 
authority." 

" I am surprised at your folly," said Sir Henry Lee, " in hint- 
ing at such things, Alice ; a pack of scandal, invented by the 
rascals who have usurped the government — a thing devised by 
the enemy." 

" Nay, sir," said Kerneguy, laughing, " we must not let our 
zeal charge the enemy with more scandal than they actually 
deserve. Mistress Alice has put the question to me. I can 
only answer, that no one can be more devotedly attached to 
the King than I myself, — that I am very partial to his merits 
and blind to his defects ; — and that, in short, I would be the 
last man in the world to give up his cause where it was tenable. 
Nevertheless, I must confess, that if all his grandfather of 
Navarre's morals have not descended to him, this poor King 
has somehow inherited a share of the specks that were thought 
to dim the lustre of that great Prince — that Charles is a little 
soft-hearted, or so, where beauty is concerned. — Do not blame 
him too severely, pretty Mistress Alice; when a man's hard 
fate has driven him among thorns, it were surely hard to pre- 
vent him from trifling with the few roses he may find among 
them?" 

Alice, who probably thought the conversation had gone far 
enough, rose while Master Kerneguy was speaking, and was leav- 
ing the room before he had finished, without apparently hearing 
the interrogation with which he concluded. Her father ap- 
proved of her departure, not thinking the turn which Kerneguy 
had given to the discourse altogether fit for her presence ; and, 
desirous civilly to break off the conversation, * I see," he said, 
"this is about the time, when, as Will says, the household 
affairs will call my daughter hence ; I will therefore challenge 
you, young gentleman, to stretch your limbs in a little exercise 
with me, either at single rapier, or rapier and poniard, back- 
sword, spadroon, or your national weapons of broadsword and 
target ; for all or any of which I think we shall find implements 
in the hall." 

It would be too high a distinction, Master Kerneguy said, 
for a poor page to be permitted to try a passage of arms with a 

Q 



242 WOODSTOCK 

knight so renowned as Sir Henry Lee, and he hoped to enjoy 
so great an honour before he left Woodstock ; but at the pre- 
sent moment his lameness continued to give him so much pain, 
that he should shame himself in the attempt. 

Sir Henry then offered to read him a play of Shakspeare, 
and for this purpose turned up King Richard II. But hardly 
had he commenced with 

"Old John of Gaunt, time honoured Lancaster," 

when the young gentleman was seized with such an incontrol- 
lable fit of the cramp as could only be relieved by immediate 
exercise. He therefore begged permission to be allowed to 
saunter abroad for a little while, if Sir Henry Lee considered 
he might venture without danger. 

" I can answer for the two or three of our people that are still 
left about the place," said Sir Henry; "and I know my son 
has disposed them so as to be constantly on the watch. If you 
hear the bell toll at the Lodge, I advise you to come straight 
home by the way of the King's Oak, which you see in yonder 
glade towering above the rest of the trees. We will have 
some one stationed there to introduce you secretly into the 
house." 

The page listened to these cautions with the impatience of a 
schoolboy, who, desirous of enjoying his holiday, hears without 
marking the advice of tutor or parent, about taking care not to 
catch cold, and so forth. 

The absence of Alice Lee had removed all which had rendered 
the interior of the Lodge agreeable, and the mercurial young 
page fled with precipitation from the exercise and amusement 
which Sir Henry had proposed. He girded on his rapier, and 
threw his cloak, or rather that which belonged to his borrowed 
suit, about him, bringing up the lower part so as to muffle the 
face and show only the eyes over it, which was a common way 
of wearing them in those days, both in streets, in the country, 
and in public places, when men had a mind to be private, and 
to avoid interruption from salutations and greetings in the 
market-place. He hurried across the open space which divided 
the front of the Lodge from the wood, with the haste of a bird, 
escaped from the cage, which, though joyful at its liberation, 
is at the same time sensible of its need of protection and shelter. 
The wood seemed to afford these to the human fugitive, as it 
might have done to the bird in question. 

When under the shadow of the branches, and within the 
verge of the forest, covered from observation, yet with the 
power of surveying the front of the Lodge, and all the open 
ground before it, the supposed Louis Kerneguy meditated on 
his escape. 



WOODSTOCK 



243 



"What an infliction — to fence with a gouty old man, who 
knows not, I dare say, a trick of the sword which was not 
familiar in the days of old Vincent Saviolo ! or, as a change 
of misery, to hear him read one of those wildernesses of scenes 
which the English call a play, from prologue to epilogue — 
from Enter the first to the final Exeunt omnes — an unparal- 
^ leled horror — a penance which would have made a dungeon 
darker, and added dulness even to Woodstock ! " 

Here he stopped and looked around, then continued his 
meditations — " So then, it was here that the gay old Norman 
secluded his pretty mistress — I warrant, without having seen 
her, that Rosamond Clifford was never half so handsome as 
that lovely Alice Lee. And what a soul there is in the girl's 
eye ! — with what abandonment of all respects, save that ex- 
pressing the interest of the moment, she poured forth her tide 
of enthusiasm ! Were I to be long here, in spite of prudence, 
and half-a-dozen very venerable obstacles beside, I should be 
tempted to try to reconcile her to the indifferent visage of this 
same hard-favoured Prince. — Hard-favoured ? — it is a kind of 
treason for one who pretends to so much loyalty, to say so of 
the King's features, and in my mind deserves punishment. — 
Ah, pretty Mistress Alice ! many a Mistress Alice before you has 
made dreadful exclamations on the irregularities of mankind, 
and the wickedness of the age, and ended by being glad to look 
out for apologies for their own share in them. But then her 
father — the stout old cavalier — my father's old friend — should 
such a thing befall, it would break his heart. Break a pudding' s- 
end — he has more sense. If I give his grandson a title to 
quarter the arms of England, what matter if a bar sinister is 
drawn across them ? — Pshaw ! far from an abatement, it is a 
point of addition — the heralds in their next visitation will place 
him higher in the roll for it. Then, if he did wince a little at 
first, does not the old traitor deserve it ; — first, for his disloyal 
intention of punching mine anointed body black and blue with 
his vile foils — and secondly, his atrocious complot with Will 
Shakspeare, a fellow as much out of date as himself, to read me 
to death with five acts of a historical play, or chronicle, f being 
the piteous Life and Death of Richard the Second ? ' Oddsfish, 
my own life is piteous enough, as I think ; and my death may 
match it, for aught I see coming yet. Ah, but then the brother 
— my friend — my guide — my guard — So far as this little pro- 
posed intrigue concerns him, such practising would be thought 
not quite fair. But your bouncing, swaggering, revengeful 
brothers exist only on the theatre. Your dire revenge, with 
which a brother persecuted a poor fellow who had seduced his 
sister, or been seduced by her, as the case might be, as relent- 
lessly as if he had trodden on his toes without making an 



244 WOODSTOCK 

apology, is entirely out of fashion, since Dorset killed the Lord 
Bruce many a long year since.* Pshaw ! when a King is the 
offender, the bravest man sacrifices nothing by pocketing a little 
wrong which he cannot personally resent. And in France, 
there is not a noble house, where each individual would not 
cock his hat an inch higher, if they could boast of such a left- 
handed alliance with the Grand Monarque." 

Such were the thoughts which rushed through the mind of 
Charles, at his first quitting the Lodge of Woodstock, and 
plunging into the forest that surrounded it. His profligate 
logic, however, was not the result of his natural disposition, 
nor received without scruple by his sound understanding. It 
was a train of reasoning which he had been led to adopt from 
his too close intimacy with the witty and profligate youth of 
quality by whom he had been surrounded. It arose from the 
evil communication with Viliiers, Wilmot, Sedley, and others, 
whose genius was destined to corrupt that age, and the Monarch 
on whom its character afterwards came so much to depend. 
Such men, bred amidst the license of civil war, and without 
experiencing that curb which in ordinary times the authority 
of parents and relations imposes upon the headlong passions of 
youth, were practised in every species of vice, and could recom- 
mend it as well by precept as by example, turning into pitiless 
ridicule all those nobler feelings which withhold men from 
gratifying lawless passion. The events of the King's life had 
also favoured his reception of this Epicurean doctrine. He saw 
himself, with the highest claims to sympathy and assistance, 
coldly treated by the Courts which he visited, rather as a per- 
mitted suppliant, than an exiled Monarch. He beheld his own 
rights and claims treated with scorn and indifference ; and, in 
the same proportion, he was reconciled to the hard-hearted and 
selfish course of dissipation, which promised him immediate 
indulgence. If this was obtained at the expense of the happi- 
ness of others, should he of all men be scrupulous upon the 
subject, since he treated others only as the world treated him ? 

But although the foundations of this unhappy system had 
been laid, the Prince was not at this early period so fully 
devoted to it as he was found to have become, when a door 
was unexpectedly opened for his restoration. On the contrary, 
though the train of gay reasoning which we have above stated, 
as if it had found vent in uttered language, did certainly arise 
in his mind, as that which would have been suggested by his 
favourite counsellors on such occasions, he recollected that what 
might be passed over as a peccadillo in France or the Nether- 
lands, or turned into a diverting novel or pasquinade by the 

* This melancholy story may be found in the Guardian. An intrigue of 
Lord Sackville, afterwards Earl of Dorset, was the cause of the fatal duel. 



WOODSTOCK 



245 



wits of his own wandering Court, was likely to have the aspect 
of horrid ingratitude and infamous treachery among the English 
gentry, and would inflict a deep, perhaps an incurable wound 
upon his interest, among the more aged and respectable part 
of his adherents. Then it occurred to him — for his own interest 
did not escape him, even in this mode of considering the subject 
— that he was in the power of the Lees, father and son, who 
were always understood to be at least sufficiently punctilious 
on the score of honour ; and if they should suspect such an 
affront as his imagination had conceived, they could be at no 
loss to find means of the most ample revenge, either by their 
own hands, or by those of the ruling faction. 

" The risk of re-opening the fatal window at Whitehall, and 
renewing the tragedy of the Man in the Mask, were a worse 
penalty," was his final reflection, "than the old stool of the 
Scottish penance ; and pretty though Alice Lee is, I cannot 
afford to intrigue at such a hazard. So, farewell, pretty maiden ! 
unless, as sometimes has happened, thou hast a humour to throw 
thyself at thy King's feet, and then I am too magnanimous to 
refuse thee my protection. Yet, when I think of the pale clay- 
cold figure of the old man, as he lay last night extended before 
me, and imagine the fury of Albert Lee raging with impatience, 
his hand on a sword which only his loyalty prevents him from 
plunging into his sovereign's heart — nay, the picture is too 
horrible ! Charles must for ever change his name to Joseph, 
even if he were strongly tempted ; which may Fortune in mercy 
prohibit ! " 

To speak the truth of a prince, more unfortunate in his early 
companions, and the callousness which he acquired by his 
juvenile adventures and irregular mode of life, than in his 
natural disposition, Charles, came the more readily to this wise 
conclusion, because he was by no means subject to those violent 
and engrossing passions, to gratify which the world has been 
thought well lost. His amours, like many of the present day, 
were rather matters of habit and fashion, than of passion and 
affection ; and, in comparing himself in this respect to his 
grandfather, Henry IV., he did neither his ancestor nor himself 
perfect justice. He was, to parody the words of a bard, him- 
self actuated by the stormy passions which an intriguer often 
only simulates — 

None of those who loved so kindly, 
None of those who loved so blindly. 

An amour was with him a matter of amusement, a regular con- 
sequence, as it seemed to him, of the ordinary course of things 
in society. He was not at the trouble to practise seductive 
arts, because he had seldom found occasion to make use of 



246 



WOODSTOCK 



them ; his high rank, and the profligacy of part of the female 
society with which he had mingled, rendering them unneces- 
sary. Added to this, he had, for the same reason, seldom been 
crossed by the obstinate interference of relations, or even of 
husbands, who had generally seemed not unwilling to suffer 
such matters to take their course. 

So that, notwithstanding his total looseness of principle, and 
systematic disbelief in the virtue of women, and the honour of 
men, as connected with the character of their female relatives, 
Charles was not a person to have studiously introduced disgrace 
into a family, where a conquest might have been violently dis- 
puted, attained with difficulty, and accompanied with general 
distress, not to mention the excitation of all fiercer passions 
against the author of the scandal. 

But the danger of the King's society consisted in his being 
much of an unbeliever in the existence of such cases as were 
likely to be embittered by remorse on the part of the principal 
victim, or rendered perilous by the violent resentment of her 
connections or relatives. He had even already found such 
things treated on the Continent as matters of ordinary occur- 
rence, subject, in all cases where a man of high influence was 
concerned, to an easy arrangement ; and he was really, generally 
speaking, sceptical on the subject of severe virtue in either sex, 
and apt to consider it as a veil assumed by prudery in women, 
and hypocrisy in men, to extort a higher reward for their 
compliance. 

While we are discussing the character of his disposition to 
gallantry, the Wanderer was conducted, by the walk he had 
chosen, through several whimsical turns, until at last it brought 
him under the windows of Victor Lee's apartment, where he 
descried Alice watering and arranging some flowers placed 
on the oriel window, which was easily accessible by daylight, 
although at night he had found it a dangerous attempt to scale 
it. But not Alice only, her father also showed himself near 
the window, and beckoned him up. The family party seemed 
now more promising than beforehand the fugitive Prince was 
weary of playing battledore and shuttlecock with his con- 
science, and much disposed to let matters go as chance should 
determine. 

He climbed lightly up the broken ascent, and was readily 
welcomed by the old knight, who held activity in high honour. 
Alice also seemed glad to see the lively and interesting young 
man ; and by her presence, and the unaffected mirth with 
which she enjoyed his sallies, he was animated to display those 
qualities of wit and humour, which nobody possessed in a higher 
degree. 

His satire delighted the old gentleman, who laughed till his 



WOODSTOCK 



247 



eyes ran over as he heard the youth, whose claims to his respect 
he little dreamed of, amusing him with successive imitations 
of the Scottish Presbyterian clergymen, of the proud and poor 
Hidalgo of the North, of the fierce and overweening pride and 
Celtic dialect of the mountain chief, of the slow and more 
pedantic Lowlander, with all of which his residence in Scotland 
had made him familiar. Alice also laughed, and applauded, 
amused herself, and delighted to see that her father was so; 
and the whole party were in the highest glee, when Albert Lee 
entered, eager to find Louis Kerneguy, and to lead him away 
to a private colloquy with Dr. Rochecliffe, whose zeal, assiduity, 
and wonderful possession of information, had constituted him 
their master-pilot in those difficult times. 

It is unnecessary to introduce the reader to the minute par- 
ticulars of their conference. The information obtained was so 
far favourable, that the enemy seemed to have had no intelli- 
gence of the King's route towards the south, and remained 
persuaded that he had made his escape from Bristol, as had 
been reported, and as had indeed been proposed ; but the 
master of the vessel prepared for the King's passage had taken 
the alarm, and sailed without his royal freight. His departure, 
however, and the suspicion of the service in which he was 
engaged, served to make the belief general, that the King had 
gone off along with him. 

But though this was cheering, the Doctor had more unplea- 
sant tidings from the sea-coast, alleging great difficulties in 
securing a vessel, to which it might be fit to commit a charge 
so precious ; and, above all, requesting his Majesty might on 
no account venture to approach the shore, until he should 
receive advice that all the previous arrangements had been 
completely settled. 

No one was able to suggest a safer place of residence than 
that which he at present occupied. Colonel Everard was deemed 
certainly not personally unfriendly to the King; and Cromwell, 
as was supposed, reposed in Everard an unbounded confidence. 
The interior presented numberless hiding-places, and secret 
modes of exit, known to no one but the ancient residents of 
the Lodge — nay, far better to Rochecliffe than to any of them ; 
as, when Rector at the neighbouring town, his prying disposi- 
tion as an antiquary had induced him to make very many 
researches among the old ruins — the results of which he was 
believed, in some instances, to have kept to himself. 

To balance these conveniences, it was no doubt true, that 
the Parliamentary Commissioners were still at no great dis- 
tance, and would be ready to resume their authority upon the 
first opportunity. But no one supposed such an opportunity 
was likely to occur ; and all believed, as the influence of Crom- 



248 



WOODSTOCK 



well and the army grew more and more predominant, that the 
disappointed Commissioners would attempt nothing in contra- 
diction to his pleasure, but wait with patience an indemnifi- 
cation in some other quarter for their vacated commissions. 
Report, through the voice of Master Joseph Tomkins, stated, 
that they had determined, in the first place, to retire to Oxford, 
and were making preparations accordingly. This promised still 
farther to insure the security of Woodstock. It was therefore 
settled, that the King, under the character of Louis Kerneguy, 
should remain an inmate of the Lodge, until a vessel should be 
procured for his escape, at the port which might be esteemed 
the safest and most convenient. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

The deadliest snakes are those which, twined 'mongst flowers, 
Blend their bright colouring with the varied blossoms, 
Their fierce eyes glittering like the spangled dew-drop ; 
In all so like what nature has most harmless, 
That sportive innocence, which dreads no danger, 
Is poison' d unawares. 

— Old Plat. 

Charles (we must now give him his own name) was easily re- 
conciled to the circumstances which rendered his residence at 
Woodstock advisable. No doubt he would much rather have 
secured his safety by making an immediate escape out of 
England ; but he had been condemned already to many un- 
comfortable lurking-places, and more disagreeable disguises, as 
well as to long and difficult journeys, during which, between 
pragmatical officers of justice belonging to the prevailing party, 
and parties of soldiers whose officers usually took on them to 
act on their own warrant, risk of discovery had more than once 
become very imminent. He was glad, therefore, of comparative 
repose, and of comparative safety. 

Then it must be considered, that Charles had been entirely 
reconciled to the society at Woodstock since he had become 
better acquainted with it. He had seen, that, to interest the 
beautiful Alice, and procure a great deal of her company, 
nothing more was necessary than to submit to the humours, 
and cultivate the intimacy, of the old cavalier her father. A 
few bouts at fencing, in which Charles took care not to put out 
his more perfect skill, and full youthful strength and activity 
— the endurance of a few scenes from Shakspeare, which the 
knight read with more zeal than taste — a little skill in music, 
in which the old man had been a proficient — the deference 



WOODSTOCK 



249 



paid to a few old-fashioned opinions, at which Charles laughed 
in his sleeve — were all-sufficient to gain for the disguised Prince 
an interest in Sir Henry Lee, and to conciliate in an equal 
degree the good-will of his lovely daughter. 

Never were there two young persons who could be said to 
commence this species of intimacy with such unequal advantages. 
Charles was a libertine, who, if he did not in cold blood resolve 
upon prosecuting his passion for Alice to a dishonourable con- 
clusion, was at every moment liable to be provoked to attempt 
the strength of a virtue, in which he was no believer. Then 
Alice, on her part, hardly knew even what was implied by the 
word libertine or seducer. Her mother had died early in the 
commencement of the Civil War, and she had been bred up 
chiefly with her brother and cousin ; so that she had an unfear- 
ing and unsuspicious frankness of manner, upon which Charles 
was not unwilling or unlikely to put a construction favourable 
to his own views. Even Alice's love for her cousin — the first 
sensation which awakens the most innocent and simple mind 
to feelings of shyness and restraint towards the male sex in 
general — had failed to excite such an alarm in her bosom. They 
were nearly related ; and Everard, though young, was several 
years her elder, and had, from her infancy, been an object of 
her respect as well as of her affection. When this early and 
childish intimacy ripened into youthful love, confessed and re- 
turned, still it differed in some shades from the passion existing 
between lovers originally strangers to each other, until their 
affections have been united in the ordinary course of courtship. 
Their love was fonder, more familiar, more perfectly confidential ; 
purer too, perhaps, and more free from starts of passionate 
violence, or apprehensive jealousy. 

The possibility that any one could have attempted to rival 
Everard in her affection, was a circumstance which never oc- 
curred to Alice ; and that this singular Scottish lad, whom she 
laughed with on account of his humour, and laughed at for his 
peculiarities, should be an object of danger or of caution, never 
once entered her imagination. The sort of intimacy to which 
she admitted Kerneguy was the same to which she would have 
received a companion of her own sex, whose manners she 
did not always approve, but whose society she found always 
amusing. 

It was natural that the freedom of Alice Lee's conduct, which 
arose from the most perfect indifference, should pass for some- 
thing approaching to encouragement in the royal gallant's 
apprehension, and that any resolutions he had formed against 
being tempted to violate the hospitality of Woodstock, should 
begin to totter, as opportunities for doing so became more 
frequent. 



WOODSTOCK 



These opportunities were favoured by Albert's departure from 
Woodstock the very day after his arrival. It had been agreed, 
in full council with Charles and Rochecliffe, that he should go 
to visit his uncle Everard in the county of Kent, and, by show- 
ing himself there, obviate any cause of suspicion which might 
arise from his residence at Woodstock, and remove any pretext 
for disturbing his father's family on account of their harbouring 
one who had been so lately in arms. He had also undertaken, 
at his own great personal risk, to visit different points on the 
sea-coast, and ascertain the security of different places for 
providing shipping for the King's leaving England. 

These circumstances were alike calculated to procure the 
King's safety, and facilitate his escape. But Alice was thereby 
deprived of the presence of her brother, who would have been 
her most watchful guardian, but who had set down the King's 
light talk upon a former occasion to the gaiety of his humour, 
and would have thought he had done his sovereign great in- 
justice, had he seriously suspected him of such a breach of 
hospitality as a dishonourable pursuit of Alice would have 
implied. 

There were, however, two of the household at Woodstock, 
who appeared not so entirely reconciled with Louis Kerneguy 
or his purposes. The one was Bevis, who seemed, from their 
first unfriendly rencontre, to have kept up a pique against their 
new guest, which no advances on the part of Charles were able 
to soften. If the page was by chance left alone with his young 
mistress, Bevis chose always to be of the party ; came close by 
Alice's chair, and growled audibly when the gallant drew near 
her. " It is a pity," said the disguised Prince, " that your Bevis 
is not a bulldog, that we might dub him a roundhead at once — 
He is too handsome, too noble, too aristocratic, to nourish those 
inhospitable prejudices against a poor houseless cavalier. I am 
convinced the spirit of Pym or Hampden has transmigrated 
into the rogue, and continues to demonstrate his hatred against 
royalty and all its adherents." 

Alice would then reply, that Bevis was loyal in word and 
deed, and only partook her father's prejudices against the Scots, 
which, she could not but acknowledge, were tolerably strong. 

"Nay, then," said the supposed Louis, "I must find some 
other reason, for I cannot allow Sir Bevis's resentment to rest 
upon national antipathy. So we will suppose that some gallant 
cavalier who wended to the wars and never returned, has 
adopted this shape to look back upon the haunts he left so 
unwillingly, and is jealous at seeing even poor Louis Kerneguy 
drawing near to the lady of his lost affections." — He approached 
her chair as he spoke, and Bevis gave one of his deep growls. 

" In that case, you had best keep your distance," said Alice, 



WOODSTOCK 251 

laughing, "for the bite of a dog, possessed by the ghost of a 
jealous lover, cannot be very safe." And the King carried on 
the dialogue in the same strain — which, while it led Alice to 
apprehend nothing more serious than the apish gallantry of a 
fantastic boy, certainly induced the supposed Louis Kerneguy 
to think that he had made one of those conquests which often 
and easily fall to the share of sovereigns. Notwithstanding 
the acuteness of his apprehension, he was not sufficiently aware 
that the Royal Road to female favour is only open to monarch s 
when they travel in grand costume, and that when they woo 
incognito, their path of courtship is liable to the same windings 
and obstacles which obstruct the course of private individuals. 

There was, besides Bevis, another member of the family, who 
kept a look-out upon Louis Kerneguy, and with no friendly 
eye. Phoebe Mayflower, though her experience extended not 
beyond the sphere of the village, yet knew the world much 
better than her mistress, and besides she was five years older. 
More knowing, she was more suspicious. She thought that 
odd-looking Scotch boy made more up to her young mistress 
than was proper for his condition of life ; and, moreover, that 
Alice gave him a little more encouragement than Parthenia 
would have afforded to any such Jack-a-dandy, in the absence 
of Argalus — for the volume treating of the loves of these cele- 
brated Arcadians was then the favourite study of swains and 
damsels throughout merry England, Entertaining such sus- 
picions, Phcebe was at a loss how to conduct herself on the 
occasion, and yet resolved she would not see the slightest chance 
of the course of Colonel Everard's true love being obstructed, 
without attempting a remedy. She had a peculiar favour for 
Markham herself ; and, moreover, he was, according to her 
phrase, as handsome and personable a young man as was in 
Oxfordshire ; and this Scottish scarecrow was no more to be 
compared to him than chalk was to cheese. And yet she 
allowed that Master Girnigy had a wonderfully well-oiled 
tongue, and that such gallants were not to be despised. What 
was to be done ? — she had no facts to offer, only vague sus- 
picion ; and was afraid to speak to her mistress, whose kindness, 
great as it was, did not, nevertheless, encourage familiarity. 

She sounded Joceline ; but he was, she knew not why, so 
deeply interested about this unlucky lad, and held his import- 
ance so high, that she could make no impression on him. To 
speak to the old knight, would have been to raise a general 
tempest. The worthy chaplain, who was, at Woodstock, grand 
referee on all disputed matters, would have been the damsel's 
most natural resource, for he was peaceful as well as moral by 
profession, and politic by practice. But it happened he had 
given Phcebe unintentional offence by speaking of her under 



252 WOODSTOCK 

the classical epithet of Rustica Fidele, the which epithet, as 
she understood it not, she held herself bound to resent as 
contumelious, and declaring she was not fonder of a fiddle 
than other folk, had ever since shunned all intercourse with 
Dr. Rochecliffe which she could easily avoid. 

Master Tomkins was always coming and going about the 
house under various pretexts ; but he was a roundhead, and 
she was too true to the cavaliers to introduce any of the enemy 
as parties to their internal discords ; besides, he had talked to 
Phoebe herself in a manner which induced her to decline every- 
thing in the shape of familiarity with him. Lastly, Cavaliero 
Wildrake might have been consulted ; but Phoebe had her own 
reasons for saying, as she did with some emphasis, that Cavaliero 
Wildrake was an impudent London rake. At length she re- 
solved to communicate her suspicions to the party having most 
interest in verifying or confuting them. 

" I'll let Master Markham Everard know, that there is a 
wasp buzzing about his honey-comb," said Phoebe ; "and, more- 
over, that I know that this young Scotch Scapegrace shifted 
himself out of a woman's into a man's dress at Goody Green's, 
and gave Goody Green's Dolly a gold-piece to say nothing 
about it ; and no more she did to any one but me, and she 
knows best herself whether she gave change for the gold or 
not — but Master Louis is a saucy jackanapes, and like enough 
to ask it." 

Three or four days elapsed while matters continued in this 
condition — the disguised Prince sometimes thinking on the 
intrigue which Fortune seemed to have thrown in his way for 
his amusement, and taking advantage of such opportunities 
as occurred to increase his intimacy with Alice Lee ; but much 
oftener harassing Dr. Rochecliffe with questions about the possi- 
bility of escape, which the good man finding himself unable to 
answer, secured his leisure against royal importunity, by retreat- 
ing into the various unexplored recessses of the Lodge, known 
perhaps only to himself, who had been for nearly a score of 
years employed in writing the Wonders of Woodstock. 

It chanced on the fourth day, that some trifling circumstance 
had called the knight abroad ; and he had left the young Scots- 
man, now familiar in the family, along with Alice, in the parlour 
of Victor Lee. Thus situated, he thought the time not unpro- 
pitious for entering upon a strain of gallantry, of a kind which 
might be called experimental, such as is practised by the Croats 
in skirmishing, when they keep bridle in hand, ready to attack 
the enemy, or canter off without coming to close quarters, as 
circumstances may recommend. After using for nearly ten 
minutes a sort of metaphysical jargon, which might, according 
to Alice's pleasure, have been interpreted either into gallantry, 



WOODSTOCK 253 

or the language of serious pretension, and when he supposed 
her engaged in fathoming his meaning, he had the mortification 
to find, by a single and brief question, that he had been totally 
unattended to, and that Alice was thinking on anything at the 
moment rather than the sense of what he had been saying. 
She asked him if he could tell what it was o'clock, and this 
with an air of real curiosity concerning the lapse of time, which 
put coquetry wholly out of the question. 

w I will go look at the sun-dial, Mistress Alice," said the 
gallant, rising and colouring, through a sense of the contempt 
with which he thought himself treated. 

" You will do me a pleasure, Master Kerneguy," said Alice, 
without the least consciousness of the indignation she had 
excited. 

Master Louis Kerneguy left the room accordingly, not, how- 
ever, to procure the information required, but to vent his anger 
and mortification, and to swear, with more serious purpose than 
he ,had dared to do before, that Alice should rue her insolence. 
Good-natured as he was, he was still a prince, unaccustomed 
to contradiction, far less to contempt, and his self-pride felt, 
for the moment, wounded to the quick. With a hasty step 
he plunged into the Chase, only remembering his own safety 
so far as to choose the deeper and sequestered avenues, where, 
walking on with the speedy and active step, which his recovery 
from fatigue now permitted him to exercise according to his 
wont, he solaced his angry purposes, by devising schemes of 
revenge on the insolent country coquette, from which no con- 
sideration of hospitality was in future to have weight enough 
to save her. 

The irritated gallant passed 

"The diaL-stone, aged and green," 

without deigning to ask it a single question ; nor could it have 
satisfied his curiosity if he had, for no sun happened to shine 
at the moment. He then hastened forward, muffling himself 
in his cloak, and assuming a stooping and slouching gait, 
which diminished his apparent height. He was soon involved 
in the deep and dim alleys of the wood, into which he had in- 
sensibly plunged himself, and was traversing it at a great rate, 
without having any distinct idea in what direction he was 
going, when suddenly his course was arrested, first by a loud 
hollo, and then by a summons to stand, accompanied by what 
seemed still more startling and extraordinary, the touch of a 
cane upon his shoulder, imposed in a good-humoured but some- 
what imperious manner. 

There were few symptoms of recognition which would have 
been welcome at this moment ; but the appearance of the person 



254 WOODSTOCK 

who had thus arrested his course, was least of all that he 
could have anticipated as timely or agreeable. When he 
turned, on receiving the signal, he beheld himself close to a 
young man, nearly six feet in height, well made in joint and 
limb, but the gravity of whose apparel, although handsome 
and gentleman-like, and a sort of precision in his habit, from 
the cleanness and stiffness of his band to the unsullied purity 
of his Spanish-leather shoes, bespoke a love of order which was 
foreign to the impoverished and vanquished cavaliers, and 
proper to the habits of those of the victorious party, who could 
afford to dress themselves handsomely ; and whose rule — that 
is, such as regarded the higher and more respectable classes — 
enjoined decency and sobriety of garb and deportment. There 
was yet another weight against the Prince in the scale, and 
one still more characteristic of the inequality in the compari- 
son, under which he seemed to labour. There was strength in 
the muscular form of the stranger who had brought him to this 
involuntary parley, authority and determination in his brow, a 
long rapier on the left, and a poniard or dagger on the right 
side of his belt, and a pair of pistols stuck into it, which would 
have been sufficient to give the unknown the advantage (Louis 
Kerneguy having no weapon but his sword), even had his per- 
sonal strength approached nearer than it did to that of the 
person by whom he was thus suddenly stopped. 

Bitterly regretting the thoughtless fit of passion that brought 
him into his present situation, but especially the want of the 
pistols he had left behind, and which do so much to place 
bodily strength and weakness upon an equal footing, Charles 
yet availed himself of the courage and presence of mind, in 
which few of his unfortunate family had for centuries been 
deficient. He stood firm and without motion, his cloak still 
wrapped round the lower part of his face, to give time for 
explanation, in case he was mistaken for some other person. 

This coolness produced its effect ; for the other party said, 
with doubt and surprise on his part, " Joceline Joliffe, is it 
not ? — if I know not Joceline Joliffe, I should at least know 
my own cloak." 

"1 am not Joceline Joliffe, as you may see, sir," said Ker- 
neguy, calmly, drawing himself erect to show the difference ol 
size, and dropping the cloak from his face and person. 

" Indeed ! " replied the stranger, in surprise ; " then, Sir 
Unknown, I have to express my regret at having used my 
cane in intimating that I wished you to stop. From that 
dress, which I certainly recognise for my own, I concluded you 
must be Joceline, in whose custody I had left my habit at the 
Lodge. " 

" If it had been Joceline, sir," replied the supposed Kerne- 



WOODSTOCK 



255 



guy, with perfect composure, "methinks you should not have 
struck so hard." 

The other party was obviously confused by the steady calm- 
ness with which he was encountered. The sense of politeness 
dictated, in the first place, an apology for a mistake, when he 
thought he had been tolerably certain of the person. Master 
Kerneguy was not in a situation to be punctilious ; he bowed 
gravely, as indicating his acceptance of the excuse offered, then 
turned and walked, as he conceived, towards the Lodge ; 
though he had traversed the woods which were cut with 
various alleys in different directions, too hastily to be certain 
of the real course which he wished to pursue. 

He was much embarrassed to find that this did not get him 
rid of the companion whom he had thus involuntarily acquired. 
Walked he slow, walked he fast, his friend in the genteel 
but puritanic habit, strong in person, and well armed, as we 
have described him, seemed determined to keep him company, 
and, without attempting to join, or enter into conversation, 
never suffered him to outstrip his surveillance for more than 
two or three yards. The Wanderer mended his pace ; but, 
although he was then, in his youth, as afterwards in his riper 
age, one of the best walkers in Britain, the stranger, without 
advancing his pace to a run, kept fully equal to him, and his 
persecution became so close and constant, and inevitable, 
that the pride and fear of Charles were both alarmed, and 
he began to think that, whatever the danger might be of a 
single-handed rencontre, he would nevertheless have a better 
bargain of this tall satellite if they settled the debate betwixt 
them in the forest, than if they drew near any place of 
habitation, where the man in authority was likely to find 
friends and concurrents. 

Betwixt anxiety, therefore, vexation, and anger, Charles faced 
suddenly round on his pursuer, as they reached a small narrow 
glade, which led to the little meadow over which presided the 
King's oak, the ragged and scathed branches and gigantic 
trunk of which formed a vista to the little wild avenue. 

" Sir," said he to his pursuer, " you have already been guilty 
of one piece of impertinence towards me. You have apologised ; 
and knowing no reason why you should distinguish me as an 
object of incivility, I have accepted your excuse without scruple. 
Is there anything remains to be settled betwixt us, which 
causes you to follow me in this manner ? If so, I shall be glad 
to make it a subject of explanation or satisfaction, as the case 
may admit of. I think you can owe me no malice ; for I never 
saw you before to my knowledge. If you can give any good 
reason for asking it, I am willing to render you personal satis- 
faction. If your purpose is merely impertinent curiosity, I let 



256 WOODSTOCK 

you know that I will not suffer myself to be dogged in my 
private walks by any one." 

" When I recognise my own cloak on another man's shoulders/' 
replied the stranger dryly, " methinks I have a natural right 
to follow and see what becomes of it ; for know, sir, though I 
have been mistaken as to the wearer, yet I am confident I had 
as good a right to stretch my cane across the cloak you are 
muffled in, as ever had any one to brush his own garments. 
If, therefore, we are to be friends, I must ask, for instance, how 
you came by that cloak, and where you are going with it ? I 
shall otherwise make, bold to stop you, as one who has sufficient 
commission to do so." 

"Oh, unhappy cloak," thought the Wanderer, "ay, and 
thrice unhappy the idle fancy that sent me here with it 
wrapped around my nose, to pick quarrels and attract obser- 
vation, when quiet and secrecy were peculiarly essential to my 
safety ! " 

" If you will allow me to guess, sir," continued the stranger, 
who was no other than Markham Everard, " I will convince 
you that you are better known than you think for." 

" Now, Heaven forbid ! " prayed the party addressed, in 
silence, but with as much devotion as ever he applied to a 
prayer in his life. Yet even in this moment of extreme 
urgency his courage and composure did not fail ; and he re- 
collected it was of the utmost importance not to seem startled, 
and to answer so as, if possible, to lead the dangerous com- 
panion with whom he had met, to confess the extent of his 
actual knowledge or suspicions concerning him. 

" If you know me, sir," he said, " and are a gentleman, as 
your appearance promises, you cannot be at a loss to discover 
to what accident you must attribute my wearing these clothes, 
which you say are yours." 

"Oh, sir," replied Colonel Everard, his wrath in no sort 
turned away by the mildness of the stranger's answer — "we 
have learned our Ovid's Metamorphoses, and we know for what 
purposes young men of quality travel in disguise — we know 
that even female attire is resorted to on certain occasions — We 
have heard of Vertumnus and Pomona." 

The Monarch, as he weighed these words, again uttered a 
devout prayer, that this ill-looking affair might have no deeper 
root than the jealousy of some admirer of Alice Lee, promising 
to himself, that, devotee as he was to the fair sex, he would 
make no scruple of renouncing the fairest of Eve's daughters in 
order to get out of the present dilemma. 

"Sir," he said, "you seem to be a gentleman. I have no 
objection to tell you, as such, that I also am of that class." 

" Or somewhat higher, perhaps ? " said Everard. 



WOODSTOCK 257 

"A gentleman/' replied Charles, "is a term which compre- 
hends all ranks entitled to armorial bearings — A duke, a lord, 
a prince, is no more than a gentleman ; and if in misfortune, 
as I am, he may be glad if that general term of courtesy is 
allowed him." 

" Sir," replied Everard, " I have no purpose to entrap you to 
any acknowledgment fatal to your own safety, — nor do I hold 
it my business to be active in the arrest of private individuals, 
whose perverted sense of national duty may have led them into 
errors, rather to be pitied than punished by candid men. But 
if those who have brought civil war and disturbance into their 
native country, proceed to carry dishonour and disgrace into 
the bosom of families — if they attempt to carry on their private 
debaucheries to the injury of the hospitable roofs which afford 
them refuge from the consequences of their public crimes, do 
you think, my lord, that we shall bear it with patience ? " 

" If it is your purpose to quarrel with me," said the Prince, 
" speak it out at once like a gentleman. You have the advan- 
tage, no doubt, of arms ; but it is not that odds which will 
induce me to fly from a single man. If, on the other hand, 
you are disposed to hear reason, I tell you in calm words, that 
I neither suspect the offence to which you allude, nor compre- 
hend why you give me the title of my Lord." 

" You deny, then, being the Lord Wilmot ? " said Everard. 

" I may do so most safely," said the Prince. 

" Perhaps you rather style yourself Earl of Rochester ? We 
heard that the issuing of some such patent by the King of 
Scots was a step which your ambition proposed." 

" Neither lord nor earl am I, as sure as I have a Christian 
soul to be saved. My name is " 

" Do not degrade yourself by unnecessary falsehood, my lord ; 
and that to a single man, who, I promise you, will not invoke 
public justice to assist his own good sword should he see cause 
to use it. Can you look at that ring, and deny that you are 
Lord Wilmot?" 

He handed to the disguised Prince a ring which he took 
from his purse, and his opponent instantly knew it for the 
same he had dropped into Alice's pitcher at the fountain, 
obeying only, though imprudently, the gallantry of the mo- 
ment, in giving a pretty gem to a handsome girl, whom he had 
accidentally frightened. 

" I know the ring," he said ; " it has been in my possession. 
How it should prove me to be Lord Wilmot, I cannot conceive ; 
and beg to say, it bears false witness against me." 

" You shall see the evidence," answered Everard ; and, re- 
suming the ring, he pressed a spring ingeniously contrived in 
the collet of the setting, on which the stone flew back, and 

R 



WOODSTOCK 



showed within it the cipher of Lord Wilraot beautifully en- 
graved in miniature, with a coronet. — "What say you now, 

sir ? " 

" That probabilities are no proofs/' said the Prince ; " there 
is nothing here save what can be easily accounted for. I am 
the son of a Scottish nobleman, who was mortally wounded 
and made prisoner at Worcester fight. When he took leave, and 
bid me fly, he gave me the few valuables he possessed, and 
that among others. I have heard him talk of having changed 
rings with Lord Wilmot, on some occasion in Scotland, but 
I never knew the trick of the gem which you have shown me." 

In this it may be necessary to say, Charles spoke very truly ; 
nor would he have parted with it in the way he did, had he 
suspected it would be easily recognised. He proceeded after a 
minute's pause : — " Once more, sir — I have told you much that 
concerns my safety — if you are generous, you will let me pass, 
and I may do you on some future day as good service. If you 
mean to arrest me, you must do so here, and at your own peril, 
for I will neither walk farther your way, nor permit you to dog 
me on mine. If you let me pass, I will thank you ; if not, take 
to your weapon." 

" Young gentleman," said Colonel Everard, " whether you 
be actually the gay young nobleman for whom I took you, you 
have made me uncertain ; but, intimate as you say your family 
has been with him, I have little doubt that you are proficient 
in the school of debauchery, of which Wilmot and Villiers are 
professors, and their hopeful Master a graduated student. Your 
conduct at Woodstock, where you have rewarded the hospitality 
of the family by meditating the most deadly wound to their 
honour, has proved you too apt a scholar in such an academy. 
I intended only to warn you on this subject — it will be your 
own fault if I add chastisement to admonition." 

"Warn me, sir!" said the Prince indignantly, "and chastise- 
ment ! This is presuming more on my patience than is con- 
sistent with your own safety — draw, sir." — So saying, he laid his 
hand on his sword. 

f My religion," said Everard, " forbids me to be rash in 
shedding blood — Go home, sir — be wise — consult the dictates 
of honour as well as prudence. Respect the honour of the 
House of Lee, and know there is one nearly allied to it, by 
whom your motions will be called to severe account." 

" Aha ! " said the Prince, with a bitter laugh, " I see the 
whole matter now — we have our roundheaded Colonel, our 
puritan cousin before us — the man of texts and morals, whom 
Alice Lee laughs at so heartily. If your religion, sir, prevents 
you from giving satisfaction, it should prevent you from offering 
insult to a person of honour," 



WOODSTOCK 259 

The passions of both were now fully up — they drew mutually, 
and began to fight, the Colonel relinquishing the advantage he 
could have obtained by the use of his firearms. A thrust of 
the arm, or a slip of the foot, might, at the moment, have 
changed the destinies of Britain, when the arrival of a third 
party broke off the combat. 



CHAPTER XXV 

Stay— for the King has thrown his warder down. 

— Richard II. 

The combatants whom we left engaged at the end of the last 
chapter, made mutual passes at each other with apparently 
equal skill and courage. Charles had been too often in action, 
and too long a party as well as a victim to civil war, to find any- 
thing new or surprising in being obliged to defend himself with 
his own hands ; and Everard had been distinguished, as well for 
his personal bravery, as for the other properties of a commander. 
But the arrival of a third party prevented the tragic conclusion 
of a combat, in which the success of either party must have 
given him much cause for regretting his victory. 

It was the old knight himself, who arrived, mounted upon a 
forest pony, for the war and sequestration had left him no steed 
of a more dignified description. He thrust himself between 
the combatants, and commanded them on their lives to hold. 
So soon as a glance from one to the other had ascertained to 
him whom he had to deal with, he demanded, "Whether the 
devils of Woodstock, whom folk talked about, had got possession 
of them both, that they were tilting at each other within the 
verge of the royal liberties ? Let me tell both of you," he said, 
"that while old Henry Lee is at Woodstock, the immunities of 
the Park shall be maintained as much as if the King were still 
on the throne. None shall fight duellos here, excepting the 
stags in their season. Put up, both of you, or I shall lug out as 
thirdsman, and prove perhaps the worst devil of the three ! — 
As Will says — 

f I'll so maul you and your toasting-irons, 
That you shall think the devil has come from hell.' " 

The combatants desisted from their encounter, but stood 
looking at each other sullenly, as men do in such a situation, 
each unwilling to seem to desire peace more than the other, 
and averse therefore to be the first to sheathe his sword. 

" Return your weapons, gentlemen, upon the spot," said the 



260 WOODSTOCK 

knight yet more peremptorily, " one and both of you, or you 
will have something to do with me, I promise you. You may 
be thankful times are changed. I have known them such, 
that your insolence might have cost each of you your right 
hand, if not redeemed with a round sum of money. Nephew, 
if you do not mean to alienate me for ever, I command you 
to put up. — Master Kerneguy, you are my guest. I request 
of you not to do me the insult of remaining with your sword 
drawn where it is my duty to see peace observed." 

" I obey you, Sir Henry," said the King, sheathing his rapier 
— "I hardly indeed know wherefore I was assaulted by this 
gentleman. I assure you, none respects the King's person or 
privileges more than myself — though the devotion is somewhat 
out of fashion." 

" We may find a place to meet, sir," replied Everard, " where 
neither the royal person nor privileges can be offended." 

"Faith, very hardly, sir," said Charles, unable to suppress 
the rising jest — "I mean, the King has so few followers, that 
the loss of the least of them might be some small damage to 
him ; but, risking all that, I will meet you wherever there is 
fair field for a poor cavalier to get off in safety, if he has the 
luck in fight." 

Sir Henry Lee's first idea had been fixed upon the insult 
offered to the royal demesne ; he now began to turn them to- 
wards the safety of his kinsman, and of the young royalist, as 
he deemed him. " Gentlemen," he said, a I must insist on this 
business being put to a final end. Nephew Markham, is this 
your return for my condescension in coming back to Woodstock 
on your warrant, that you should take an opportunity to cut 
the throat of my guest ? " 

" If you knew his purpose as well as I do," — said Markham, 
and then paused, conscious that he might only incense his 
uncle without convincing him, as anything he might say of 
Kerneguy's addresses to Alice was likely to be imputed to his 
own jealous suspicions — he looked on the ground, therefore, 
and was silent. 

"And you, Master Kerneguy," said Sir Henry, "can you 
give me any reason why you seek to take the life of this 
young man, in whom, though unhappily forgetful of his 
loyalty and duty, I must yet take some interest, as my nephew 
by affinity ? " 

" I was not aware the gentleman enjoyed that honour, which 
certainly would have protected him from my sword," answered 
Kerneguy. " But the quarrel is his ; nor can I tell any reason 
why he fixed it upon me, unless it were the difference of our 
political opinions." 

"You know the contrary," said Everard; "you know that 



WOODSTOCK 



261 



I told you you were safe from me as a fugitive royalist — and 
your last words showed you were at no loss to guess my con- 
nection with Sir Henry. That, indeed, is of little consequence. 
I should debase myself did I use the relationship as a means of 
protection from you, or any one." 

As they thus disputed, neither choosing to approach the real 
cause of quarrel, Sir Henry looked from the one to the other, 
with a peace-making countenance, exclaiming — 

" 1 Why, what an intricate impeach is this ? 

I think you both have drunk of Circe's cup.' 

Come, my young masters, allow an old man to mediate between 
you. I am not shortsighted in such matters — The mother of 
mischief is no bigger than a gnat's wing ; and I have known 
fifty instances in my own day, when, as Will says — 

4 Gallants have been confronted hardily, 
In single opposition, hand to hand,' 

in which, after the field was fought, no one could remember 
the cause of quarrel. — Tush ! a small thing will do it — the 
taking of the wall — or the gentle rub of the shoulder in passing 
each other, or a hasty word, or a misconceived gesture — Come, 
forget your cause of quarrel, be what it will — you have had 
your breathing, and though you put up your rapiers unbloodied, 
that was no default of yours, but by command of your elder, 
and one who had right to use authority. In Malta, where the 
duello is punctiliously well understood, the persons engaged in 
a single combat are bound to halt on the command of a knight, 
or priest, or lady, and the quarrel so interrupted is held as 
honourably terminated, and may not be revived. — Nephew, 
it is, I think, impossible that you can nourish spleen against 
this young gentleman for having fought for his king. Hear 
my honest proposal, Markham — You know I bear no malice, 
though 1 have some reason to be offended with you — Give the 
young man your hand in friendship, and we will back to the 
Lodge, all three together, and drink a cup of sack in token of 
reconciliation." 

Markham Everard found himself unable to resist this approach 
towards kindness on his uncle's part. He suspected, indeed, 
what was partly the truth, that it was not entirely from 
reviving good-will, but also, that his uncle thought, by such 
attention, to secure his neutrality at least, if not his assistance, 
for the safety of the fugitive royalist. He was sensible that he 
was placed in an awkward predicament; and that he might 
incur the suspicions of his own party, for holding intercourse 
even with a near relation, who harboured such guests. But, 



262 WOODSTOCK 

on the other hand, he thought his services to the Common- 
wealth had been of sufficient importance to outweigh whatever 
envy might urge on that topic. Indeed, although the Civil 
War had divided families much, and in many various ways, 
yet when it seemed ended by the triumph of the republicans, 
the rage of political hatred began to relent, and the ancient 
ties of kindred and friendship regained at least a part of their 
former influence. Many reunions were formed ; and those who, 
like Everard, adhered to the conquering party, often exerted 
themselves for the protection of their deserted relatives. 

As these things rushed through his mind, accompanied with 
the prospect of a renewed intercourse with Alice Lee, by means 
of which he might be at hand to protect her against every 
chance, either of injury or insult, he held out his hand to the 
supposed Scottish page, saying at the same time, "That, for 
his part, he was very ready to forget the cause of quarrel, or 
rather, to consider it as arising out of a misapprehension, and to 
offer Master Kerneguy such friendship as might exist between 
honourable men, who had embraced different sides in politics." 

Unable to overcome the feeling of personal dignity, which 
prudence recommended to him to forget, Louis Kerneguy in 
return bowed low, but without accepting Everard's proffered 
hand. 

" He had no occasion," he said, " to make any exertions to 
forget the cause of quarrel, for he had never been able to com- 
prehend it ; but as he had not shunned the gentleman's resent- 
ment, so he was now willing to embrace and return any degree 
of his favour, with which he might be pleased to honour him." 

Everard withdrew his hand with a smile, and bowed in 
return to the salutation of the page, whose stiff reception of 
his advances he imputed to the proud pettish disposition of 
a Scotch boy, trained up in extravagant ideas of family conse- 
quence and personal importance, which his acquaintance with 
the world had not yet been sufficient to dispel. 

Sir Henry Lee, delighted with the termination of the quarrel, 
which he supposed to be in deep deference to his own authority, 
and not displeased with the opportunity of renewing some 
acquaintance with his nephew, who had, notwithstanding his 
political demerits, a warmer interest in his affections than he 
was, perhaps, himself aware of, said, in a tone of consolation, 
" Never be mortified, young gentlemen. I protest it went to 
my heart to part you, when I saw you stretching yourselves so 
handsomely, and in fair love of honour, without any malicious 
or bloodthirsty thoughts. I promise you, had it not been for 
my duty as Ranger here, and sworn to the office, I would rather 
have been your umpire than your hindrance. — But a finished 
quarrel is a forgotten quarrel ; and your tilting should have no 



WOODSTOCK 263 

further consequence excepting the appetite it may have given 
you." 

So saying, he urged forward his pony, and moved in triumph 
towards the Lodge by the nearest alley. His feet almost 
touching the ground, the ball of his toe just resting in the 
stirrup, — the forepart of the thigh brought round to the saddle, 
— the heels turned outwards, and sunk as much as possible, — . 
his body precisely erect, — the reins properly and systemati- 
cally divided in his left hand, his right holding a riding-rod 
diagonally pointed towards the horse's left ear, — he seemed a 
champion of the manege, fit to have reined Bucephalus himself. 
His youthful companions, who attended on either hand like 
equerries, could scarcely suppress a smile at the completely 
adjusted and systematic posture of the rider, contrasted with 
the wild and diminutive appearance of the pony, with its 
shaggy coat, and long tail and mane, and its keen eyes spark- 
ling like red coals from amongst the mass of hair which fell 
over its small countenance. If the reader has the Duke of 
Newcastle's book on horsemanship (splendida moles!) he may 
have some idea of the figure of the good knight, if he can con- 
ceive such a figure as one of the cavaliers there represented, 
seated, in all the graces of his art, on a Welsh or Exmoor pony, 
in its native savage state, without grooming or discipline of any 
kind ; the ridicule being greatly enhanced by the disproportion 
of size betwixt the animal and its rider. 

Perhaps the knight saw their wonder, for the first words he 
said after they left the ground were, " Pixie, though small, is 
mettlesome, gentlemen " (here he contrived that Pixie should 
himself corroborate the assertion, by executing a gambade), — 
" he is diminutive, but full of spirit ; — indeed, save that I am 
somewhat too large for an elfin horseman " (the knight was 
upwards of six feet high), "I should remind myself, when 
I mount him, of the Fairy King, as described by Mike 
Drayton : — 

* Himself he on an earwig set, 
Yet scarce upon his back could get, 
So oft and high he did curvet, 
Ere he himself did settle. 

He made him stop, and turn, and bound, 
To gallop, and to trot the round, 
He scarce could stand on any ground, 
He was so full of mettle.' " 

"My old friend, Pixie," said Everard, stroking the pony's 
neck, " I am glad that he has survived all these bustling days 
— Pixie must be above twenty years old, Sir Henry ? " 



264 



WOODSTOCK 



"Above twenty years, certainly. Yes, nephew Markham, 
war is a whirlwind in a plantation, which only spares what is 
least worth leaving. Old Pixie and his old master have sur- 
vived many a tall fellow and many a great horse — neither of 
them good for much themselves. Yet, as Will says, an old 
man can do somewhat. So Pixie and I still survive." 

So saying, he again contrived that Pixie should show some 
remnants of activity. 

" Still survive ? " said the young Scot, completing the sentence 
which the good knight had left unfinished — " ay, still survive, 

1 To witch the world with noble horsemanship.' " 

Everard coloured, for he felt the irony ; but not so his uncle, 
whose simple vanity never permitted him to doubt the sincerity 
of the compliment. 

"Are you avised of that ? " he said. " In King James's 
time, indeed, I have appeared in the tilt-yard, and there you 
might have said — 

* You saw young Harry with his beaver up.' 

As to seeing old Harry, why " — Here the knight paused, and 
looked as a bashful man in labour of a pun — " As to old Harry 
— why, you might as well see the devil. You take me, Master 
Kerneguy — the devil, you know is my namesake — ha — ha — 
ha ! — Cousin Everard, I hope your precision is not startled by 
an innocent jest ? " 

He was so delighted with the applause of both his com- 
panions, that he recited the whole of the celebrated passage 
referred to, and concluded with defying the present age, bundle 
all its wits, Donne, Cowley, Waller, and the rest of them 
together, to produce a poet of a tenth part of the genius of 
old Will. 

" Why, we are said to have one of his descendants among us 
— Sir William D' Avenant," said Louis Kerneguy ; te and many 
think him as clever a fellow." 

"What!" exclaimed Sir Henry — "Will D' Avenant, whom 
I knew in the North, an officer under Newcastle, when the 
Marquis lay before Hull ? — why, he was an honest cavalier, 
and wrote good doggerel enough ; but how came he akin to 
Will Shakspeare, I trow ? " 

" Why," replied the young Scot, " by the surer side of the 
house, and after the old fashion, if D' Avenant speaks truth. It 
seems that his mother was a good-looking, laughing, buxom 
mistress of an inn between Stratford and London, at which 
Will Shakspeare often quartered as he went down to his native 
town ; and that out of friendship and gossipred, as we say in 



WOODSTOCK 265 

Scotland, Will Shakspeare became godfather to Will D'Avenant ; 
and not contented with this spiritual affinity, the younger Will 
is for establishing some claim to a natural one, alleging that his 
mother was a great admirer of wit, and there were no bounds 
to her complaisance for men of genius." * 

" Out upon the hound ! " said Colonel Everard ; " would he 
purchase the reputation of descending from poet, or from 
prince, at the expense of his mother's good fame ? — his nose 
ought to be slit." 

"That would be difficult," answered the disguised Prince, 
recollecting the peculiarity of the bard's countenance. 

" Will D'Avenant the son of Will Shakspeare ! " said the 
knight, who had not yet recovered his surprise at the enormity 
of the pretension ; " why, it reminds me of a verse in the 
puppet-show of Phaeton, where the hero complains to his 
mother — 

'Besides, by all the village boys I am sham'd ; 
You the Sun's son, you rascal, you be d— d I ' t 

I never heard such unblushing assurance in my life ! — Will 
D'Avenant the son of the brightest and best poet that ever was, 
is, or will be ? — But I crave your pardon, nephew — You, I 
believe, love no stage plays." 

"Nay, I am not altogether so precise as you would make me, 
uncle. I have loved them perhaps too well in my time, and 
now I condemn them not altogether, or in gross, though I 
approve not their excesses and extravagances. — I cannot, even 
in Shakspeare, but see many things both scandalous to decency 
and prejudicial to good manners — many things which tend to 
ridicule virtue, or to recommend vice, — at least to mitigate the 
hideousness of its features. I cannot think these fine poems 
are a useful study, and especially for the youth of either sex, 
in which bloodshed is pointed out as the chief occupation of the 
men, and intrigue as the sole employment of the women." 

In making these observations, Everard was simple enough to 
think that he was only giving his uncle an opportunity of 
defending a favourite opinion, without offending him by a con- 

* This gossiping tale is to be found in the variorum Shakspeare. 
D'Avenant did not much mind throwing out hints, in which he sacrificed 
his mother's character to his desire of being held a descendant from the 
admirable Shakspeare. 

t D'Avenant actually wanted the nose, the foundation of many a jest 
of the day. 

X We observe this couplet in Fielding's farce of Tumble-down Dick, 
founded on the same classical story. As it was current in the time of 
the Commonwealth, it must have reached the author of Tom Jones by 
tradition — for no one will suspect the present author of making the 
anachronism. 



266 WOODSTOCK 

tradiction which was so limited and mitigated. But here, as 
on other occasions, he forgot how obstinate his uncle was in his 
views, whether of religion, policy, or taste, and that it would 
be as easy to convert him to the Presbyterian form of govern- 
ment, or engage him to take the abjuration oath, as to shake 
his belief in Shakspeare. There was another peculiarity in the 
good knight's mode of arguing, which Everard, being himself 
of a plain and downright character, and one whose religious 
tenets were in some degree unfavourable to the suppressions 
and simulations often used in society, could never perfectly 
understand. Sir Henry, sensible of his natural heat of temper, 
was wont scrupulously to guard against it, and would for some 
time, when in fact much offended, conduct a debate with all 
the external appearance of composure, till the violence of his 
feelings would rise so high as to overcome and bear away the 
artificial barriers opposed to it, and rush down upon the 
adversary with accumulating wrath. It thus frequently hap- 
pened, that, like a wily old general, he retreated in the face of 
his disputant in good order and by degrees, with so moderate a 
degree of resistance, as to draw on his antagonist's pursuit to the 
spot, where, at length, making a sudden and unexpected attack, 
with horse, foot, and artillery at once, he seldom failed to con- 
found the enemy, though he might not overthrow him. 

It was on this principle, therefore, that, hearing Everard's 
last observation, he disguised his angry feelings, and answered, 
with a tone where politeness was called in to keep guard upon 
passion, " That undoubtedly the Presbyterian gentry had given, 
through the whole of these unhappy times, such proofs of an 
humble, unaspiring, and unambitious desire of the public good, 
as entitled them to general credit for the sincerity of those very 
strong scruples which they entertained against works, in which 
the noblest sentiments of religion and virtue, — sentiments 
which might convert hardened sinners, and be placed with 
propriety in the mouths of dying saints and martyrs, — happened, 
from the rudeness and coarse taste of the times, to be mixed 
with some broad jests, and similar matter, which lay not much 
in the way, excepting of those who painfully sought such stuff 
out, that they might use it in vilifying what was in itself 
deserving of the highest applause. But what he wished espe- 
cially to know from his nephew was, whether any of those 
gifted men, who had expelled the learned scholars and deep 
divines of the Church of England from the pulpit, and now 
flourished in their stead, received any inspiration from the 
muses (if he might use so profane a term without offence to 
Colonel Everard), or whether they were not as sottishly and 
brutally averse from elegant letters, as they were from humanity 
and common sense ? " 



WOODSTOCK 



267 



Colonel Everard might have guessed, by the ironical tone in 
which this speech was delivered, what storm was mustering 
within his uncle's bosom — nay, he might have conjectured the 
state of the old knight's feelings from his emphasis on the word 
Colonel, by which epithet, as that which most connected his 
nephew with the party he hated, he never distinguished Everard, 
unless when his wrath was rising ; while, on the contrary, when 
disposed to be on good terms with him, he usually called him 
Kinsman, or Nephew Markham. Indeed, it was under a partial 
sense that this was the case, and in the hope to see his cousin 
Alice, that the Colonel forebore making any answer to the 
harangue of his uncle, which had concluded just as the old 
knight had alighted at the door of the Lodge, and was entering 
the hall, followed by his two attendants. 

Phoebe at the same time made her appearance in the hall, 
and received orders to bring some " beverage " for the gentle- 
men. The Hebe of Woodstock failed not to recognise and 
welcome Everard by an almost imperceptible courtesy ; but she 
did not serve her interest, as she designed, when she asked the 
knight, as a question of course, whether he commanded the 
attendance of Mistress Alice. A stern No, was the decided 
reply ; and the ill-timed interference seemed to increase his 
previous irritation against Everard for his depreciation of 
Shakspeare. " I would insist," said Sir Henry, resuming the 
obnoxious subject, "were it fit for a poor disbanded cavalier to 
use such a phrase towards a commander of the conquering 
army, — upon knowing whether the convulsion which has sent 
us saints and prophets without end, has not also afforded us a 
poet with enough both of gifts and grace to outshine poor old 
Will, the oracle and idol of us blinded and carnal cavaliers ? " 

" Surely, sir," replied Colonel Everard ; ff I know verses 
written by a friend of the Commonwealth, and those, too, of a 
dramatic character, which, weighed in an impartial scale, might 
equal even the poetry of Shakspeare, and which are free from 
the fustian and indelicacy with which that great bard was 
sometimes content to feed the coarse appetites of his barbarous 
audience." 

" Indeed ! " said the knight, keeping down his wrath with 
difficulty. n I should like to be acquainted with this master- 
piece of poetry ! — May we ask the name of this distinguished 
person ? " 

"It must be Vicars, or Withers, at least," said the feigned 
page. 

"No, sir," replied Everard, "nor Drummond of Hawthornden, 
nor Lord Stirling neither. And yet the verses will vindicate 
what I say, if you will make allowance for indifferent recitation, 
for I am better accustomed to speak to a battalion than to 



268 



WOODSTOCK 



those who love the muses. The speaker is a lady benighted, 
who, having lost her way in a pathless forest, at first expresses 
herself agitated by the supernatural fears to which her situation 
gave rise." 

" A play, too, and written by a roundhead author ! " said Sir 
Henry in surprise. 

" A dramatic production at least," replied his nephew ; and 
began to recite simply, but with feeling, the lines now so well 
known, but which had then obtained no celebrity, the fame of 
the author resting upon the basis rather of his polemical and 
political publications, than on the poetry doomed in after days 
to support the eternal structure of his immortality. 

u 1 These thoughts may startle, but will not astound 
The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended 
By a strong-siding champion, Conscience.' " 

" My own opinion, nephew Markham, my own opinion," said 
Sir Henry, with a burst of admiration ; " better expressed, but 
just what I said when the scoundrelly roundhead pretended to 
see ghosts at Woodstock — Go on, I prithee." 

Everard proceeded : — 

" 1 O welcome, pure-eyed Faith, white-handed Hope, 
Thou hovering angel, girt with golden wings, 
And thou unblemish'd form of Chastity ! 
I see ye visibly, and now believe 
That he the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill 
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance, 
Would send a glistering guardian, if need were, 
To keep my life and honour unassail'd. — 
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud, 
Turn forth her silver lining on the night ? ' 

"The rest has escaped me," said the reciter; "and I marvel 
I have been able to remember so much." 

Sir Henry Lee, who had expected some effusion very differ- 
ent from those classical and beautiful lines, soon changed the 
scornful expression of his countenance, relaxed his contorted 
upper lip, and, stroking down his beard with his left hand, 
rested the forefinger of the right upon his eyebrow, in sign of 
profound attention. After Everard had ceased speaking, the 
old man sighed as at the end of a strain of sweet music. He 
then spoke in a gentler manner than formerly. 

" Cousin Markham," he said, " these verses flow sweetly, and 
sound in my ears like the well-touched warbling of a lute. 
But thou knowest I am something slow of apprehending the 
full meaning of that which I hear for the first time. Repeat 
me these verses again, slowly and deliberately ; for I always 



WOODSTOCK 



269 



love to hear poetry twice, the first time for sound, and the 
latter time for sense." 

Thus encouraged, Everard recited again the lines with more 
hardihood and better effect ; the knight distinctly under- 
standing, and from his looks and motions, highly applauding 
them. 

" Yes ! " he broke out, when Everard was again silent — 
" Yes, I do call that poetry — though it were even written by a 
Presbyterian, or an Anabaptist either. Ay, there were good 
and righteous people to be found even amongst the offending 
towns which were destroyed by fire. And certainly I have 
heard, though with little credence (begging your pardon, 
cousin Everard), that there are men among you who have 
seen the error of their ways in rebelling against the best 
and kindest of masters, and bringing it to that pass that 
he was murdered by a gang yet fiercer than themselves. Ay, 
doubtless, the gentleness of spirit, and the purity of mind, 
which dictated those beautiful lines, has long ago taught a 
man so amiable to say, I have sinned, I have sinned. Yes, I 
doubt not so sweet a harp has been broken, even in remorse, 
for the crimes he was witness to ; and now he sits drooping 
for the shame and sorrow of England, — all his noble rhymes, 
as Will says, 

' Like sweet bells jangled out of tune and harsh.' 

Dost thou not think so, Master Kerneguy ! " 

"Not I, Sir Henry," answered the page, somewhat mali- 
ciously. 

"What, dost not believe the author of these lines must 
needs be of the better file, and leaning to our persuasion ? " 

" I think, Sir Henry, that the poetry qualifies the author to 
write a play on the subject -of Dame Potiphar and her recusant 
lover; and as for his calling — that last metaphor of the cloud 
in a black coat or cloak, with silver lining, would have dubbed 
him a tailor with me, only that I happen to know that he is a 
schoolmaster by profession, and by political opinions qualified 
to be Poet Laureate to Cromwell ; for what Colonel Everard 
has repeated with such unction, is the production of no less 
celebrated a person than John Milton." 

" John Milton ! " exclaimed Sir Henry in astonishment — 
" What ! John Milton, the blasphemous and bloody-minded 
author of the Defensio Populi Anglicani ! — the advocate of the 
infernal High Court of Fiends ; the creature and parasite of 
that grand impostor, that loathsome hypocrite, that detestable 
monster, that prodigy of the universe, that disgrace of man- 
kind, that landscape of iniquity, that sink of sin, and that com- 
pendium of baseness, Oliver Cromwell I " 



WOODSTOCK 



" Even the same John Milton," answered Charles ; u school- 
master to little boys, and tailor to the clouds, which he furnishes 
with suits of black, lined with silver, at no other expense than 
that of common sense." 

" Markham Everard," said the old knight, " I will never 
forgive thee — never, never. Thou hast made me speak words 
of praise respecting one whose offal should fatten the region- 
kites. Speak not to me, sir, but begone ! Am I, your kinsman 
and benefactor, a fit person to be juggled out of my commen- 
dation and eulogy, and brought to bedaub such a whitened 
sepulchre as the sophist Milton ? " 

" I profess," said Everard, " this is hard measure, Sir Henry. 
You pressed me — you defied me to produce poetry as good as 
Shakspeare's. I only thought of the verses, not of the politics 
of Milton." 

" Oh yes, sir," replied Sir Henry, " we well know your power 
of making distinctions ; you could make war against the King's 
prerogative, without having the least design against his person. 
Oh Heaven forbid ! But Heaven will hear and judge you. — 
Set down the beverage, Phoebe" — (this was added by way 
of parenthesis to Phcebe, who entered with refreshment) — 
" Colonel Everard is not thirsty. — You have wiped your mouths 
and said you have done no evil. But though you have de- 
ceived man, yet God you cannot deceive. And you shall 
wipe no lips in Woodstock, either after meat or drink, I 
promise you." 

Charged thus at once with the faults imputed to his whole 
religious sect and political party, Everard felt too late of what 
imprudence he had been guilty in giving the opening, by dis- 
puting his uncle's taste in dramatic poetry. He endeavoured 
to explain — to apologise. 

"I mistook your purpose, honoured sir, and thought you 
really desired to know something of our literature ; and in 
repeating what you deemed not unworthy your hearing, I 
profess I thought I was doing you pleasure, instead of stirring 
your indignation." 

" Oh ay ! " returned the knight, with unmitigated rigour of 
resentment — "profess — profess — Ay, that is the new phrase of 
asseveration, instead of the profane adoration of courtiers and 
cavaliers — Oh, sir, profess less and practise more — and so good 
day to you. — Master Kerneguy, you will find beverage in my 
apartment." 

While Phcebe stood gaping in admiration at the sudden 
quarrel which had arisen, Colonel Everard's vexation and 
resentment was not a little increased by the nonchalance of 
the young Scotsman, who, with his hands thrust into his 
pockets (with a courtly affectation of the time), had thrown 



WOODSTOCK 271 

himself into one of the antique chairs, and, though habitually 
too polite to laugh aloud, and possessing that art of internal 
laughter by which men of the world learn to indulge their 
mirth without incurring quarrels, or giving direct offence, was 
at no particular trouble to conceal that he was exceedingly 
amused by the result of the Colonel's visit to Woodstock. 
Colonel Everard's patience, however, had reached bounds which 
it was very likely to surpass; for, though differing widely in 
politics, there was a resemblance betwixt the temper of the 
uncle and nephew. 

" Damnation ! " exclaimed the Colonel, in a tone which 
became a puritan as little as did the exclamation itself. 

" Amen ! " said Louis Kerneguy, but in a tone so soft and 
gentle, that the ejaculation seemed rather to escape him than 
to be designedly uttered. 

"Sir," said Everard, striding towards him in that sort of 
humour, when a man, full of resentment, would not unwillingly 
find an object on which to discharge it. 

" Plait-il f " said the page, in the most equable tone, looking 
up in his face with the most unconscious innocence. 

"I wish to know, sir," retorted Everard, "the meaning of 
that which you said just now ? " 

"Only a pouring out of the spirit, worthy sir," returned 
Kerneguy — " a small skiff despatched to Heaven on my own 
account, to keep company with your holy petition just now 
expressed." 

"Sir, I have known a merry gentleman's bones broke for 
such a smile as you wear just now," replied Everard. 

" There, look you now ! answered the malicious page, who 
could not weigh even the thoughts of his safety against the 
enjoyment of his jest — " If you had stuck to your professions, 
worthy sir, you must have choked by this time ; but your 
round execration bolted like a cork from a bottle of cider, and 
now allows your wrath to come foaming out after it, in the 
honest unbaptized language of common ruffians." 

" For Heaven's sake, Master Girnegy," said Phoebe, " forbear 
giving the Colonel these bitter words ! And do you, good 
Colonel Markham, scorn to take offence at his hands — he is 
but a boy." 

" If the Colonel or you choose, Mrs. Phoebe, you shall find 
me a man — I think the gentleman can say something to the 
purpose already. — Probably he may recommend to you the 
part of the Lady in Comus ; and I only hope his own admiva- 
tion of John Milton will not induce him to undertake the 
part of Samson Agonistes, and blow up this old house with 
execrations, or pull it down in wrath about our ears." 

"Young man," said the Colonel, still in towering passion, 



272 WOODSTOCK 

"if you respect my principles for nothing else, be grateful 
to the protection which, but for them, you would not easily 
attain." 

"Nay, then," said the attendant, "I must fetch those who 
have more influence with you than I have," and away tripped 
Phoebe ; while Kerneguy answered Everard in the same pro- 
voking tone of calm indifference — 

" Before you menace me with a thing so formidable as your 
resentment, you ought to be certain whether I may not be 
compelled by circumstances to deny you the opportunity you 
seem to point at." 

At this moment Alice, summoned no doubt by her attendant, 
entered the hall hastily. 

" Master Kerneguy," she said, " my father requests to see 
you in Victor Lee's apartment." 

Kerneguy arose and bowed, but seemed determined to remain 
till Everard's departure, so as to prevent any explanation be- 
twixt the cousins. 

" Markham," said Alice hurriedly — "Cousin Everard — I 
have but a moment to remain here — for God's sake, do you 
instantly begone ! — be cautious and patient — but do not tarry 
here — my father is fearfully incensed." 

u I have had my uncle's word for that, madam," replied 
Everard, "as well as his injunction to depart, which I will 
obey without delay. I was not aware that you would have 
seconded so harsh an order quite so willingly ; but I go, 
madam, sensible I leave those behind whose company is more 
agreeable." 

"Unjust — ungenerous — ungrateful!" said Alice; but fearful 
her words might reach ears for which they were not designed, 
she spoke them in a voice so feeble, that her cousin, for whom 
they were intended, lost the consolation they were calculated 
to convey. 

He bowed coldly to Alice, as taking leave, and said, with 
an air of that constrained courtesy which sometimes covers, 
among men of condition, the most deadly hatred, " I believe, 
Master Kerneguy, that I must make it convenient at pre- 
sent to suppress my own peculiar opinions on the matter 
which we have hinted at in our conversation, in which case 
I will send a gentleman, who, I hope, may be able to conquer 
yours." 

The supposed Scotsman made him a stately, and at the 
same time a condescending bow, said he should expect the 
honour of his commands, offered his hand to Mistress Alice, 
to conduct her back to her father's apartment, and took a 
triumphant leave of his rival. 

Everard, on the other hand, stung beyond his patience, and, 



WOODSTOCK 273 

from the grace and composed assurance of the youth's carriage, 
still conceiving him to be either Wilmot, or some of his com- 
peers in rank and profligacy, returned to the town of Wood- 
stock, determined not to be outbearded, even though he should 
seek redress by means which his principles forbade him to 
consider as justifiable. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

Boundless intemperance 

In nature is a tyranny — it hath been 
The untimely emptying of many a throne, 
And fall of many kings. 

—Macbeth. 

While Colonel Everard retreated in high indignation from the 
little refection, which Sir Henry Lee had in his good humour 
offered, and withdrawn under the circumstances of provocation 
which we have detailed, the good old knight, scarce recovered 
from his fit of passion, partook of it with his daughter and 
guest, and shortly after, recollecting some silvan task (for 
though to little efficient purpose, he still regularly attended to 
his duties as Ranger), he called Bevis, and went out, leaving the 
two young people together. 

"Now," said the amorous Prince to himself, "that Alice is 
left without her lion, it remains to see whether she is herself of 
a tigress breed. — So, Sir Bevis has left his charge," he said 
aloud ; u I thought the knights of old, those stern guardians 
of which he is so fit a representative, were more rigorous in 
maintaining a vigilant guard." 

"Bevis," said Alice, "knows that his attendance on me is 
totally needless ; and, moreover, he has other duties to perform, 
which every true knight prefers to dangling the whole morning 
by a lady's sleeve." 

"You speak treason against all true affection," said the 
gallant ; " a lady's lightest wish should to a true knight be 
more binding than aught excepting the summons of his sove- 
reign. I wish, Mistress Alice, you would but intimate your 
slightest desire to me, and you should see how I have practised 
obedience." 

"You never brought me word what o'clock it was this 
morning," replied the young lady, " and there I sat questioning 
of the wings of Time, when I should have remembered that 
gentlemen's gallantry can be quite as fugitive as Time himself. 
How do you know what your disobedience may have cost me 
and others ? Pudding and pasty may have been burned to a 

s 



274 



WOODSTOCK 



cinder, for, sir, I practise the old domestic rule of visiting the 
kitchen ; or I may have missed prayers, or I may have been 
too late for an appointment, simply by the negligence of 
Master Louis Kerneguy failing to let me know the hour of 
the day." 

" Oh," replied Kerneguy, " I am one of those lovers who 
cannot endure absence — I must be eternally at the feet of my 
fair enemy — such, I think, is the title with which romances 
teach us to grace the fair and cruel to whom we devote our 
hearts and lives. — Speak for me, good lute," he added, taking 
up the instrument, "and show whether I know not my duty." 

He sung, but with more taste than execution, the air of a 
French rondelai, to which some of the wits or sonnetteers, in 
his gay and roving train, had adapted English verses. 

An hour with thee I — When earliest day 
Dapples with gold the eastern grey, 
Oh, what can frame my mind to bear 
The toil and turmoil, cark and care, 
New griefs, which coming hours unfold, 
And sad remembrance of the old 1 — 

One hour with thee ! 

One hour with thee ! — When burnirg June 
Waves his red flag at pitch of noon ; 
What shall repay the faithful swain, 
His labour on the sultry plain ; 
And more than cave or sheltering bough, 
Cool feverish blood, and throbbing brow ? — 
One hour with thee ! 

One hour with thee ! — When sun is set, 
Oh, what can teach me to forget 
The thankless labours of the day ; 
The hopes, the wishes, flung away ; 
The increasing wants, and lessening gains, 
The master's pride, who scorns my pains ? — 
One hour with thee ! 

"Truly, there is another verse," said the songster; "but I 
sing it not to you, Mistress Alice, because some of the prudes of 
the court liked it not." 

u I thank you, Master Louis," answered the young lady, 
"both for your discretion in singing what has given me 
pleasure, and in forbearing what might offend me. Though a 
country girl, I pretend to be so far of the court mode, as to 
receive nothing which does not pass current among the better 
class there." 

" I would," answered Louis, " that you were so well con- 



WOODSTOCK 



275 



firmed in their creed, as to let all pass with you, to which 
court ladies would give currency." 

" And what would be the consequence ? " said Alice, with 
perfect composure. 

"In that case/' said Louis, embarrassed like a general who 
finds that his preparations for attack do not seem to strike 
either fear or confusion into the enemy — "in that case you 
would forgive me, fair Alice, if I spoke to you in a warmer 
language than that of mere gallantry — if I told you how much 
my heart was interested in what you consider as idle jesting — 
if I seriously owned it was in your power to make me the happiest 
or the most miserable of human beings." 

"Master Kerneguy," said Alice, with the same unshaken 
nonchalance, "let us understand each other. I am little 
acquainted with high-bred manners, and I am unwilling, I tell 
you plainly, to be accounted a silly country girl, who, either 
from ignorance or conceit, is startled at every word of gallantry 
addressed to her by a young man, who, for the present, has 
nothing better to do than coin and circulate such false compli- 
ments. But I must not let this fear of seeming rustic and 
awkwardly timorous carry me too far ; and being ignorant of 
the exact limits, I will take care to stop within them." 

"I trust, madam," said Kerneguy, "that however severely 
you may be disposed to judge of me, your justice will not 
punish me too severely for an offence, of which your charms are 
alone the occasion ? ' • 

" Hear me out, sir, if you please," resumed Alice. " I have 
listened to you when you spoke en berger — nay, my com- 
plaisance has been so great, as to answer you en bergere — for 
I do not think anything except ridicule can come of dialogues 
between Lindor and Jeanneton ; and the principal fault of the 
style is its extreme and tiresome silliness and affectation. But 
when you begin to kneel, offer to take my hand, and speak 
with a more serious tone, I must remind you of our real 
characters. I am the daughter of Sir Henry Lee, sir ; and you 
are, or profess to be, Master Louis Kerneguy, my brother's 
page, and a fugitive for shelter under my father's roof, who 
incurs danger by the harbour he affords you, and whose house- 
hold, therefore, ought not to be disturbed by your unpleasing 
importunities." 

" I would to Heaven, fair Alice," said the King, " that your 
objections to the suit which I am urging, not in jest, but most 
seriously, as that on which my happiness depends, rested only 
on the low and precarious station of Louis Kerneguy ! — Alice, 
thou hast the soul of thy family, and must needs love honour. 
I am no more the needy Scottish page, whom I have, for my 
own purposes, personated, than I am the awkward lout, whose 



276 WOODSTOCK 




manners I adopted on the first night of our acquaintance. 
This hand, poor as I seem, can confer a coronet." 

" Keep it/ 1 said Alice, ? for some more ambitious damsel, my 
lord, — for such I conclude is your title, if this romance be true, 
— I would not accept your hand, could you confer a duchy." 

" In one sense, lovely Alice, you have neither overrated my 
power nor my affection. It is your King — it is Charles Stewart 
who speaks to you ! — he can confer duchies, and if beauty can 
merit them, it is that of Alice Lee. Nay, nay — rise — do not 
kneel — it is for your sovereign to kneel to thee, Alice, to whom 
he is a thousand times more devoted than the wanderer Louis 
dared venture to profess himself. My Alice has, I know, been 
trained up in those principles of love and obedience to her 
sovereign, that she cannot, in conscience or in mercy, inflict 
on him such a wound as would be implied in the rejection of 
his suit." 

In spite of all Charles's attempts to prevent her, Alice had 
persevered in kneeling on one knee, until she had touched with 
her lip the hand with which he attempted to raise her. But 
this salutation ended, she stood upright, with her arms folded 
on her bosom — her looks humble, but composed, keen, and 
watchful, and so possessed of herself, so little flattered by the 
communication which the King had supposed would have been 
overpowering, that he scarce knew in what terms next to urge 
his solicitation. 

" Thou art silent — thou art silent," he said, " my pretty 
Alice. Has the King no more influence with thee than the 
poor Scottish page ? " 

ff In one sense, every influence," said Alice ; " for he com- 
mands my best thoughts, my best wishes, my earnest prayers, 
my devoted loyalty, which, as the men of the House of Lee 
have been ever ready to testify with the sword, so are the 
women bound to seal, if necessary, with their blood. But 
beyond the duties of a true and devoted subject, the King is; 
even less to Alice Lee than poor Louis Kerneguy. The Page 
could have tendered an honourable union — the Monarch can 
but offer a contaminated coronet." 

"You mistake, Alice — you mistake," said the King, eagerly. 
" Sit down and let me speak to you — sit down — What is't you 
fear ?" 

" I fear nothing, my liege," answered Alice. "What can I 
fear from the King of Britain — I, the daughter of his loyal 
subject, and under my father's roof? But I remember the 
distance betwixt us ; and though I might trifle and jest with 
mine equal, to my King I must only appear in the dutiful 
posture of a subject, unless where his safety may seem to» 
require that I do not acknowledge his dignity." 



WOODSTOCK 277 

Charles, though young, being no novice in such scenes, was 
surprised to encounter resistance of a kind which had not been 
opposed to him in similar pursuits, even in cases where he had 
been unsuccessful. There was neither anger, nor injured pride, 
nor disorder, nor disdain, real or affected, in the manners and 
conduct of Alice. She stood, as it seemed, calmly prepared to 
argue on the subject, which is generally decided by passion — 
showed no inclination to escape from the apartment, but 
appeared determined to hear with patience the suit of the lover 
— while her countenance and manner intimated that she had this 
complaisance only in deference to the commands of the King. 

" She is ambitious," thought Charles ; " it is by dazzling her 
love of glory, not by mere passionate entreaties, that I must 
hope to be successful. — I pray you be seated, my fair Alice," he 
said ; " the lover entreats — the King commands you." 

M The King," said Alice, " may permit the relaxation of the 
ceremonies due to royalty, but he cannot abrogate the subject's 
duty, even by express command. I stand here while it is your 
Majesty's pleasure to address — a patient listener, as in duty 
bound." 

w Know then, simple girl," said the King, " that in accepting 
my proffered affection and protection, you break through no 
law either of virtue or morality. Those who are born to royalty 
are deprived of many of the comforts of private life — chiefly that 
which is, perhaps, the dearest and most precious, the power of 
choosing their own mates for life. Their formal weddings are 
guided upon principles of political expedience only, and those 
to whom they are wedded are frequently, in temper, person, and 
disposition, the most unlikely to make them happy. Society 
has commiseration, therefore, towards us, and binds our un- 
willing and often unhappy wedlocks with chains of a lighter 
and more easy character than those which fetter other men, 
whose marriage ties, as more voluntarily assumed, ought, in 
proportion, to be more strictly binding. And therefore, ever 
since the time that old Henry built these walls, priests and 
prelates, as well as nobles and statesmen, have been accus- 
tomed to see a fair Rosamond rule the heart of an affectionate 
monarch, and console him for the few hours of constraint and 
state which he must bestow upon some angry and jealous 
Eleanor. To such a connection the world attaches no blame ; 
they rush to the festival to admire the beauty of the lovely 
Esther, while the imperious Vashti is left to queen it in soli- 
tude ; they throng the palace to ask her protection, whose 
influence is more in the state an hundred times than that of 
the proud consort ; her offspring rank with the nobles of the 
land, and vindicate by their courage, like the celebrated Long- 
sword, Earl of Salisbury, their descent from royalty and from 



278 WOODSTOCK 

love. From such connections our richest ranks of nobles are 
recruited ; and the mother lives, in the greatness of her pos- 
terity, honoured and blest, as she died lamented and wept in 
the arms of love and friendship." 

" Did Rosamond so die, my lord ? " said Alice. " Our records 
say she was poisoned by the injured Queen — poisoned, without 
time allowed to call to God for the pardon of her many faults. 
Did her memory so live ? I have heard that, when the Bishop 
purified the church at Godstowe, her monument was broken 
open by his orders, and her bones thrown out into unconse- 
crated ground." 

" Those were rude old days, sweet Alice," answered Charles ; 
" queens are not now so jealous, nor bishops so rigorous. And 
know, besides, that in the lands to which I would lead the 
loveliest of her sex, other laws obtain, which remove from such 
ties even the slightest show of scandal. There is a mode of 
matrimony, which, fulfilling all the rites of the Church, leaves 
no stain on the conscience ; yet investing the bride with none 
of the privileges peculiar to her husband's condition, infringes 
not upon the duties which the King owes to his subjects. So 
that Alice Lee may, in all respects, become the real and lawful 
wife of Charles Stewart, except that their private union gives 
her no title to be Queen of England." 

" My ambition," said Alice, " will be sufficiently gratified to 
see Charles king, without aiming to share either his dignity in 
public, or his wealth and regal luxury in private." 

" I understand thee, Alice," said the King, hurt but not dis- 
pleased. " You ridicule me, being a fugitive, for speaking like 
a king. It is a habit, I admit, which I have learned, and of 
which even misfortune cannot cure me. But my case is not so 
desperate as you may suppose. My friends are still many in 
these kingdoms ; my allies abroad are bound, by regard to 
their own interest, to espouse my cause. I have hopes given 
me from Spain, from France, and from other nations ; and I 
have confidence that my father's blood has not been poured 
forth in vain, nor is doomed to dry up without due vengeance. 
My trust is in Him from whom princes derive their title, and, 
think what thou wilt of my present condition, I have perfect 
confidence that I shall one day sit on the throne of England." 

" May God grant it ! " said Alice ; " and that He may grant 
it, noble Prince, deign to consider whether you now pursue a 
conduct likely to conciliate His favour. Think of the course 
you recommend to a motherless maiden, who has no better 
defence against your sophistry, than what a sense of morality, 
together with the natural feeling of female dignity, inspires. 
Whether the death of her father, which would be the conse- 
quence of her imprudence ; whether the despair of her brother, 



WOODSTOCK 279 

whose life has been so often in peril to save that of your 
Majesty ; — whether the dishonour of the roof which has sheltered 
you, will read well in your annals, or are events likely to pro- 
pitiate God, whose controversy with your House has been but 
too visible, or recover the affections' of the people of England, 
in whose eyes such actions are an abomination, I leave to your 
own royal mind to consider." 

Charles paused, struck with a turn to the conversation which 
placed his own interests more in collision with the gratification 
of his present passion than he had supposed. 

"If your Majesty," said Alice, courtesying deeply, "has no 
farther commands for my attendance, may I be permitted to 
withdraw ? " 

" Stay yet a little, strange and impracticable girl," said the 
King, " and answer me but one question : — Is it the lowness 
of my present fortunes that makes my suit contemptible ? " 

"I have nothing to conceal, my liege," she said, "and my 
answer shall be as plain and direct as the question you have 
asked. If I could have been moved to an act of ignominious, 
insane, and ungrateful folly, it could only arise from my being 
blinded by that passion, which I believe is pleaded as an excuse 
for folly and for crime much more often than it has a real 
existence. I must, in short, have been in love, as it is called — 
and that might have been with my equal, but surely never with 
my sovereign, whether such only in title, or in possession of his 
kingdom." 

"Yet loyalty was ever the pride, almost the ruling passion, 
of your family, Alice," said the King. 

"And could I reconcile that loyalty," said Alice, "with 
indulging my sovereign, by permitting him to prosecute a suit 
dishonourable to himself as to me ? Ought I, as a faithful 
subject, to join him in a folly, which might throw yet another 
stumbling-block in the path to his restoration, and could only 
serve to diminish his security, even if he were seated upon his 
throne ? V 

" At this rate," said Charles discontentedly, " I had better 
have retained my character of the page, than assumed that of 
a sovereign, which it seems is still more irreconcilable with my 
wishes." 

" My candour shall go still farther," said Alice. " I could 
have felt as little for Louis Kerneguy as for the heir of Britain ; 
for such love as I have to bestow (and it is not such as I read of 
in romance, or hear poured forth in song), has been already con- 
ferred on another object. This gives your Majesty pain — I am 
sorry for it — but the wholesomest medicines are often bitter." 

"Yes," answered the King, with some asperity, "and phy- 
sicians are reasonable enough to expect their patients to swallow 



28o 



WOODSTOCK 



them, as if they were honeycomb. It is true, then, that whis- 
pered tale of the cousin Colonel ; and the daughter of the loyal 
Lee has set her heart upon a rebellious fanatic ? " 

"My love was given ere I knew what these words fanatic 
and rebel meant. I recalled it not, for I am satisfied, that 
amidst the great distractions which divide the kingdom, the 
person to whom you allude has chosen his part erroneously 
perhaps, but conscientiously — he, therefore, has still the highest 
place in my affection and esteem. More he cannot have, and 
will not ask, until some happy turn shall reconcile these public 
differences, and my father be once more reconciled to him. 
Devoutly do I pray that such an event may occur by your 
Majesty's speedy and unanimous restoration ! " 

"You have found out a reason," said the King pettishly, 
"to make me detest the thought of such a change — nor have 
you, Alice, any sincere interest to pray for it. On the con- 
trary, do you not see that your lover, walking side by side with 
Cromwell, may, or rather must, share his power ? nay, if Lam- 
bert does not anticipate him, he may trip up Oliver's heels, and 
reign in his stead. And think you not he will find means to 
overcome the pride of the loyal Lees, and achieve a union, for 
which things are better prepared than that which Cromwell is 
said to meditate betwixt one of his brats and the no less loyal 
heir of Fauconberg ? " 

" Your Majesty," said Alice, " has found a way at length to 
avenge yourself — if what I have said deserves vengeance." 

" I could point out a yet shorter road to your union," said 
Charles, without minding her distress, or perhaps enjoying the 
pleasure of retaliation. " Suppose that you sent your Colonel 
word that there was one Charles Stewart here, who had come 
to disturb the Saints in their peaceful government, which they 
had acquired by prayer and preaching, pike and gun, — and 
suppose he had the art to bring down a half-score of troopers, 
quite enough, as times go, to decide the fate of this heir of 
royalty — think you not the possession of such a prize as this 
might obtain from the Rumpers, or from Cromwell, such a 
reward as might overcome your father's objections to a round- 
head's alliance, and place the fair Alice and her cousin Colonel 
in full possession of their wishes ? " 

"My liege," said Alice, her cheeks glowing, and her eyes 
sparkling — for she too had her share of the hereditary tempera- 
ment of her family, — " this passes my patience. I have heard, 
without expressing anger, the most ignominious persuasions 
addressed to myself, and I have vindicated myself for refusing 
to be the paramour of a fugitive Prince, as if I had been ex- 
cusing myself from accepting a share of an actual crown. But 
do you think I can hear all who are dear to me slandered 



WOODSTOCK 



281 



without emotion or reply? I will not, sir; and were you 
seated with all the terrors of your father's Star-chamber around 
you, you should hear me defend the absent and the innocent. 
Of my father I will say nothing, but that if he is now without 
wealth — without state, almost without a sheltering home and 
needful food — it is because he spent all in the service of the 
King. He needed not to commit any act of treachery or 
villainy to obtain wealth — he had an ample competence in his 
own possessions. For Markham Everard — he knows no such 
thing as selfishness — he would not, for broad England, had 
she the treasures of Peru in her bosom, and a paradise on her 
surface, do a deed that would disgrace his own name, or injure 
the feelings of another — Kings, my liege, may take a lesson 
from him. My liege, for the present I take my leave." 

" Alice, Alice — stay ! " exclaimed the King. " She is gone. 
— This must be virtue — real, disinterested, overawing virtue — 
or there is no such thing on earth. Yet Wilmot and Villiers 
will not believe a word of it, but add the tale to the other 
wonders of Woodstock. Tis a rare wench ! and I profess, to 
use the Colonel's obtestation, that I know not whether to for- 
give and be friends with her, or study a dire revenge. If it 
were not for that accursed cousin — that Puritan Colonel — I 
could forgive everything else to so noble a wench. But a 
roundheaded rebel preferred to me — the preference avowed to 
my face, and justified with the assertion, that a king might 
take a lesson from him — it is gall and wormwood. If the old 
man had not come up this morning as he did, the King should 
have taken or given a lesson and a severe one. It was a mad 
rencontre to venture upon with my rank and responsibility — 
and yet this wench has made me so angry with her, and so 
envious of him, that if an opportunity offered, I should scarce 
be able to forbear him. — Ha ! whom have we here ? " 

The interjection at the conclusion of this royal soliloquy, was 
occasioned by the unexpected entrance of another personage of 
the drama. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

Benedict. — Shall I speak a word in your ear ? 
Claudio. — God bless me from a challenge. 

— Much Ado about Nothing. 

As Charles was about to leave the apartment, he was prevented 
by the appearance of Wildrake, who entered with an unusual 
degree of swagger in his gait, and of fantastic importance on 
his brow. a I crave your pardon, fair sir," he said ; " but, as 



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they say in my country, when doors are open dogs enter. I 
have knocked and called in the hall to no purpose ; so, knowing 
the way to this parlour, sir, — for I am a light partisan, and the 
road I once travel I never forget, — I ventured to present myself 
unannounced." 

" Sir Henry Lee is abroad, sir, I believe, in the Chase," said 
Charles, coldly, for the appearance of this somewhat vulgar 
debauchee was not agreeable to him at the moment, " and 
Master Albert Lee has left the Lodge for two or three days." 

" I am aware of it, sir," said Wildrake ; " but I have no 
business at present with either." 

" And with whom is your business ? " said Charles ; <e that 
is, if I may be permitted to ask — since I think it cannot in 
possibility be with me." 

"Pardon me in turn, sir," answered the cavalier; "in no 
possibility can it be imparted to any other but yourself, if you 
be, as I think you are, though in something better habit, 
Master Louis Girnigo, the Scottish gentleman who waits upon 
Master Albert Lee." 

" I am all you are like to find for him," answered Charles. 

"In truth," said the cavalier, "I do perceive a difference, 
but rest, and better clothing, will do much ; and I am glad of 
it, since I would be sorry to have brought a message, such as I 
am charged with, to a tatterdemalion." 

" Let us get to the business, sir, if you please," said the King 
— " you have a message for me, you say ? " 

" True, sir," replied Wildrake ; "I am the friend of Colonel 
Markham Everard, sir, a tall man, and a worthy person in the 
field, although I could wish him a better cause — A message I 
have to you, it is certain, in a slight note, which I take the 
liberty of presenting with the usual formalities." So saying, 
he drew his sword, put the billet he mentioned upon the point, 
and making a profound bow, presented it to Charles. 

The disguised Monarch accepted of it, with a grave return of 
the salute, and said, as he was about to open the letter, " I am 
not, I presume, to expect friendly contents in an epistle pre- 
sented in so hostile a manner ? " 

"A-hem, sir," replied the ambassador, clearing his voice, I 
while he arranged a suitable answer, in which the mild strain 
of diplomacy might be properly maintained ; " not utterly 
hostile, I suppose, sir, is the invitation, though it be such as 
must be construed in the commencement rather bellicose and i 
pugnacious. I trust, sir, we shall find that a few thrusts will 
make a handsome conclusion of the business; and so, as my 
old master used to say, Pax nascitur ex hello. For my own 
poor share, I am truly glad to have been graced by my friend, 
Markham Everard, in this matter — the rather as I feared the 



WOODSTOCK 283 

Puritan principles with which he is imbued (I will confess the 
truth to you, worthy sir), might have rendered him unwilling, 
from certain scruples, to have taken the gentlemanlike and 
honourable mode of righting himself in such a case as the 
present. And as I render a friend's duty to my friend, so I 
humbly hope, Master Louis Girnigo, that I do no injustice to 
you in preparing the way for the proposed meeting, where, 
give me leave to say, I trust, that if no fatal accident occur, 
we shall be all better friends when the skirmish is over than 
we were before it began." 

" I should suppose so, sir, in any case," said Charles, looking 
at the letter; "worse than mortal enemies we can scarce be, 
and it is that footing upon which this billet places us." 

" You say true, sir," said Wildrake ; " it is, sir, a cartel, 
introducing to a single combat, for the pacific object of restor- 
ing a perfect good understanding betwixt the survivors — in 
case that fortunately that word can be used in the plural after 
the event of the meeting." 

"In short, we only fight, I suppose," replied the King, 
"that we may come to a perfectly good and amicable under- 
standing?" 

u You are right again, sir ; and I thank you for the clearness 
of your apprehension," said Wildrake. — "Ah, sir, it is easy to 
do with a person of honour and of intellect in such a case as 
this. And I beseech you, sir, as a personal kindness to myself, 
that as the morning is like to be frosty, and myself am in some 
sort rheumatic — as war will leave its scars behind, sir, — I say, 
I will entreat of you to bring with you some gentleman of 
honour, who will not disdain to take part of what is going 
forward — a sort of pot-luck, sir — with a poor old soldier like 
myself — that we may take no harm by standing unoccupied 
during such cold weather." 

"I understand, sir," replied Charles; "if this matter goes 
forward, be assured I will endeavour to provide you with a 
suitable opponent." 

"I shall remain greatly indebted to you, sir," said Wildrake; 
"and I am by no means curious about the quality of my 
antagonist. — It is true I write myself esquire and gen^eman, 
and should account myself especially honoured by crossing my 
sword with that of Sir Henry or Master Albert Lee ; but, 
should that not be convenient, I will not refuse to present my 
poor person in opposition to any gentleman who has served the 
King, which I always hold as a sort of letters of nobility in 
itself, and, therefore, would on no account decline the duello 
with such a person." 

" The King is much obliged to you, sir," said Charles, " for 
the honour you do his faithful subjects." 



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" O, sir, I am scrupulous on that point — very scrupulous. — 
When there is a roundhead in question, I consult the Herald's 
books, to see that he is entitled to bear arms, as is Master 
Markham Everard, without which, I promise you, I had borne 
none of his cartel. But a cavalier is with me a gentleman, of 
course — Be his birth ever so low, his loyalty has ennobled his 
condition." 

" It is well, sir," said the King. " This paper requests me 
to meet Master Everard at six to-morrow morning, at the 
tree called the King's Oak. — I object neither to place nor time. 
He proffers the sword, at which, he says, we possess some 
equality — I do not decline the weapon ; for company, two 
gentlemen — I shall endeavour to procure myself an associate, 
and a suitable partner for you, sir, if you incline to join in the 
dance." 

" I kiss your hand, sir, and rest yours, under a sense of obliga- 
tion," answered the envoy. 

"I thank you, sir," continued the King; "I will therefore 
be ready at place and time, and suitably furnished ; and I will 
either give your friend such satisfaction with my sword as he 
requires, or will render him such cause for not doing so as he 
will be contented with." 

"You will excuse me, sir," said Wildrake, "if my mind is 
too dull, under the circumstances, to conceive any alternative 
that can remain betwixt two men of honour in such a case, 
excepting — sa — sa — ." He threw himself into a fencing posi- 
tion, and made a pass with his sheathed rapier, but not directed 
towards the person of the King, whom he addressed. 

"Excuse me, sir," said Charles, "if I do not trouble your 
intellects with the consideration of a case which may not 
occur. — But, for example, I may plead urgent employment on 
the part of the public." — This he spoke in a low and mysterious 
tone of voice, which Wildrake appeared perfectly to compre- 
hend ; for he laid his forefinger on his nose with what he meant 
for a very intelligent and apprehensive nod. 

"Sir," said he, "if you be engaged in any affair for the King, 
my friend shall have every reasonable degree of patience — 
Nay, I will fight him myself in your stead, merely to stay his 
stomach, rather than you should be interrupted. — And, sir, 
if you can find room in your enterprise for a poor gentleman 
that has followed Lunsford and Goring, you have but to name 
day, time, and place of rendezvous ; for truly, sir, I am tired 
of the scald hat, cropped hair, and undertaker's cloak, with 
which my friend has bedizened me, and would willingly ruffle 
it out once more in the King's cause, when whether I be 
banged or hanged, I care not." 

" I shall remember what you say, sir, should an opportunity 



WOODSTOCK 285 

occur/' said the King; "and I wish his Majesty had many such 
subjects. — I presume our business is now settled ?" 

" When you shall have been pleased, sir, to give me a 
trifling scrap of writing, to serve for my credentials — for such, 
you know, is the custom — your written cartel hath its written 
answer." 

" That, sir, will I presently do," said Charles, " and in good 
time — here are the materials." 

" And, sir," continued the envoy — f Ahi ! — ahem ! — if you 
have interest in the household for a cup of sack — I am a man 
of few words, and am somewhat hoarse with much speaking — 
moreover, a serious business of this kind always makes one 
thirsty. — Besides, sir, to part with dry lips argues malice, which 
God forbid should exist in such an honourable conjuncture." 

" I do not boast much influence in the house, sir," said the 
King ; " but if you would have the condescension to accept 
of this broad piece towards quenching your thirst at the 
George " 

"Sir," said the cavalier (for the times admitted of this 
strange species of courtesy, nor was Wildrake a man of such 
peculiar delicacy as keenly to dispute the matter), — "I am 
once again beholden to you. But I see not how it consists 
with my honour to accept of such accommodation, unless you 
were to accompany and partake ? " 

"Pardon me, sir," replied Charles, "my safety recommends 
that I remain rather private at present." 

" Enough said," Wildrake observed ; " poor cavaliers must 
not stand on ceremony. I see, sir, you understand cutter's 
law — when one tall fellow has coin, another must not be 
thirsty. I wish you, sir, a continuance of health and happiness 
until to-morrow, at the King's Oak, at six o'clock." 

"Farewell, sir," said the King, and added, as Wildrake 
went down the stair whistling, "Hey for cavaliers," to which 
air his long rapier, jarring against the steps and banisters, bore 
no unsuitable burden — " Farewell, thou too just emblem of the 
state to which war, and defeat, and despair have reduced many 
a gallant gentleman." 

During the rest of the day there occurred nothing peculiarly 
deserving of notice. Alice sedulously avoided showing towards 
the disguised Prince any degree of estrangement or shyness, 
which could be discovered by her father, or by any one else. 
To all appearance, the two young persons continued on the 
same footing in every respect. Yet she made the gallant him- 
self sensible, that this apparent intimacy was assumed merely 
to save appearances, and in no way designed as retracting from 
the severity with which she had rejected his suit. The sense 
that this was the case, joined to his injured self-love, and his 



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enmity against a successful rival, induced Charles early to 
withdraw himself to a solitary walk in the wilderness, where, 
like Hercules in the Emblem of Cebes, divided betwixt the 
personifications of Virtue and of Pleasure, he listened alter- 
nately to the voice of Wisdom and of passionate Folly. 

Prudence urged to him the importance of his own life to the 
future prosecution of the great object in which he had for the 
present miscarried — the restoration of monarchy in England, 
the rebuilding of the throne, the regaining the crown of his 
father, the avenging his death, and restoring to their fortunes 
and their country the numerous exiles, who were suffering 
poverty and banishment on account of their attachment to his 
cause. Pride too, or rather a just and natural sense of dignity, 
displayed the unworthiness of a Prince descending to actual 
personal conflict with a subject of any degree, and the ridicule 
which would be thrown on his memory, should he lose his life 
for an obscure intrigue by the hand of a private gentleman. 
What would his sage counsellors, Nicholas and Hyde — what 
would his kind and wise governor, the Marquis of Hertford, say 
to such an act of rashness and folly ? Would it not be likely to 
shake the allegiance of the staid and prudent persons of the 
royalist party, since wherefore should they expose their lives 
and estates to raise to the government of a kingdom a young 
man who could not command his own temper ? To this was to 
be added, the consideration that even his success would add 
double difficulties to his escape, which already seemed sufficiently 
precarious. If, stopping short of death, he merely had the 
better of his antagonist, how did he know that he might not 
seek revenge by delivering up to government the Malignant 
Louis Kerneguy, whose real character could not in that case fail 
to be discovered ? 

These considerations strongly recommended to Charles that 
he should clear himself of the challenge without fighting ; and 
the reservation under which he had accepted it, afforded him 
some opportunity of doing so. 

But Passion also had her arguments, which she addressed to 
a temper rendered irritable by recent distress and mortification. 
In the first place, if he was a prince, he was also a gentleman, 
entitled to resent as such, and obliged to give or claim the 
satisfaction expected on occasion of differences among gentlemen. 
With Englishmen, she urged, he could never lose interest by 
showing himself ready, instead of sheltering himself under his 
royal birth and pretensions, to come frankly forward and main- 
tain what he had done or said on his own responsibility. In a 
free nation, it seemed as if he would rather gain than lose in 
the public estimation by a conduct which could not but seem 
gallant and generous. Then a character for courage was far 



WOODSTOCK 



287 



more necessary to support his pretensions than any other kind 
of reputation ; and the lying under a challenge, without replying 
to it, might bring his spirit into question. What would Villiers 
and Wilmot say of an intrigue, in which he had allowed himself 
to be shamefully baffled by a country girl, and had failed to 
revenge himself on his rival? The pasquinades which they 
would compose, the witty sarcasms which they would circulate 
on the occasion, would be harder to endure than the grave 
rebukes of Hertford, Hyde, and Nicholas. This reflection, 
added to the stings of youthful and awakened courage, at length 
fixed his resolution, and he returned to Woodstock determined 
to keep his appointment, come of it what might. 

Perhaps there mingled with his resolution a secret belief 
that such a rencontre would not prove fatal. He was in the 
flower of his youth, active in all his exercises, and no way in- 
ferior to Colonel Everard, as far as the morning's experiment 
had gone, in that of self-defence. At least, such recollection 
might pass through his royal mind, as he hummed to himself a 
well-known ditty, which he had picked up during his residence 
in Scotland — 

"A man may drink and not be drunk ; 
A man may fight and not be slain ; 
A man may kiss a bonnie lass, 
And yet be welcome back again." 

Meanwhile the busy and all-directing Dr. Rochecliffe had 
contrived to intimate to Alice that she must give him a private 
audience, and she found him by appointment in what was called 
the study, once filled with ancient books, which, long since 
converted into cartridges, had made more noise in the world at 
their final exit, than during the space which had intervened 
betwixt that and their first publication. The Doctor seated 
himself in a high-backed leathern easy -chair, and signed to 
Alice to fetch a stool and sit down beside him. 

"Alice," said the old man, taking her hand affectionately, 
" thou art a good girl, a wise girl, a virtuous girl, one of those 
whose price is above rubies — not that rubies is the proper trans- 
lation — but remind me to tell you of that another time. Alice, 
thou knowest who this Louis Kerneguy is — nay, hesitate not 
to me — I know everything — I am well aware of the whole 
matter. Thou knowest this honoured house holds the fortunes 
of England." Alice was about to answer. " Nay, speak not, 
but listen to me, Alice — How does he bear himself towards 
you ? " 

Alice coloured with the deepest crimson. " I am a country- 
bred girl," she said, "and his manners are too court-like 
for me." 



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"Enough said — I know it all. Alice, he is exposed to a 
great danger to-morrow, and you must be the happy means to 
prevent him." 

fl I prevent him ! — how, and in what manner ? " said Alice 
in surprise. " It is my duty, as a subject, to do anything — any- 
thing that may become my father's daughter " 

Here she stopped, considerably embarrassed. 

"Yes," continued the Doctor, "to-morrow he hath made an 
appointment — an appointment with Markham Everard ; the hour 
and place are set — six in the morning, by the King's Oak. If 
they meet, one will probably fall." 

"Now, may God forefend they should meet," said Alice, 
turning as suddenly pale as she had previously reddened. " But 
harm cannot come of it; Everard will never lift his sword 
against the King." 

" For that," said Dr. RocheclifFe, " I would not warrant. 
But if that unhappy young gentleman shall have still some 
reserve of the loyalty which his general conduct entirely dis- 
avows, it would not serve us here ; for he knows not the King, 
but considers him merely as a cavalier, from whom he has 
received injury." 

" Let him know the truth, Doctor RocheclifFe, let him know 
it instantly," said Alice ; " he lift hand against the King, a 
fugitive and defenceless ! He is incapable of it. My life on 
the issue, he becomes most active in his preservation." 

"That is the thought of a maiden, Alice," answered the 
Doctor ; " and, as I fear, of a maiden whose wisdom is misled 
by her affections. It were worse than treason to admit a rebel 
officer, the friend of the arch- traitor Cromwell, into so great 
a secret. I dare not answer for such rashness. Hammond was 
trusted by his father, and you know what came of it." 

"Then let my father know. He will meet Markham, or 
send to him, representing the indignity done to him by attack- 
ing his guest." 

"We dare not let your father into the secret who Louis 
Kerneguy really is. I did but hint the possibility of Charles 
taking refuge at Woodstock, and the rapture into which Sir 
Henry broke out, the preparations for accommodation and 
defence which he began to talk of, plainly showed that the 
mere enthusiasm of his loyalty would have led to a risk of dis- 
covery. It is you, Alice, who must save the hopes of every true 
royalist." 

" I ! " answered Alice ; " it is impossible. — Why cannot my 
father be induced to interfere, as in behalf of his friend and 
guest, though he know him as no other than Louis Kerneguy ? " 

"You have forgot your father's character, my young friend," 
said the Doctor ; " an excellent man, and the best of Christians, 



WOODSTOCK 



289 



till there is a clashing of swords, and then he starts up the 
complete martialist, as deaf to every pacific reasoning, as if he 
were a game-cock." 

" You forget, Doctor RocheclifFe," said Alice, " that this very 
morning, if I understand the thing aright, my father prevented 
them from fighting." 

"Ay," answered the Doctor, "because he deemed himself 
bound to keep the peace in the Royal Park ; but it was done 
with such regret, Alice, that, should he find them at it again, 
I am clear to foretell he will only so far postpone the combat 
as to conduct them to some unprivileged ground, and there bid 
them tilt and welcome, while he regaled his eyes with a scene 
so pleasing. No, Alice, it is you, and you only, who can help 
us in this extremity." 

" I see no possibility," said she, again colouring, " how I can 
be of the least use." 

"You must send a note," answered Dr. RocheclifFe, "to the 
King — a note such as all women know how to write better than 
any man can teach them — to meet you at the precise hour 
of the rendezvous. He will not fail you, for I know his un- 
happy foible." 

" Doctor RocheclifFe," said Alice gravely, — "you have known 
me from infancy, — What have you seen in me to induce you to 
believe that I should ever follow such unbecoming counsel ? " 

" And if you have known me from infancy," retorted the 
Doctor, " what have you seen of me that you should suspect 
me of giving counsel to my friend's daughter, which it would 
be misbecoming in her to follow ? You cannot be fool enough, 
I think, to suppose, that I mean you should carry your com- 
plaisance farther than to keep him in discourse for an hour or 
two, till I have all in readiness for his leaving this place, from 
which I can frighten him by the terrors of an alleged search ? 
— So, C. S. mounts his horse and rides off, and Mistress Alice 
Lee has the honour of saving him." 

"Yes, at the expense of her own reputation," said Alice, 
" and the risk of an eternal stain on my family. You say you 
know all. What can the King think of my appointing an 
assignation with him after what has passed, and how will 
it be possible to disabuse him respecting the purpose of my 
doing so ? " 

" I will disabuse him, Alice ; I will explain the whole." 

"Doctor RocheclifFe," said Alice, "you propose what is im- 
possible. You can do much by your ready wit and great 
wisdom ; but if new-fallen snow were once sullied, not all your 
art could wash it white again ; and it is altogether the same 
with a maiden's reputation." 

" Alice, my dearest child," said the Doctor, " bethink you 

T 



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that if I recommend this means of saving the life of the King, 
at least rescuing him from instant peril, it is because I see no 
other of which to avail myself. If I bid you assume, even for 
a moment, the semblance of what is wrong, it is but in the last 
extremity, and under circumstances which cannot return — I 
will take the surest means to prevent all evil report which can 
arise from what I recommend." 

" Say not so, Doctor," said Alice ; " better undertake to turn 
back the Isis than to stop the course of calumny. The King 
will make boast to his whole licentious court, of the ease with 
which, but for a sudden alarm, he could have brought off Alice 
Lee as a paramour — the mouth which confers honour on others, 
will then be the means to deprive me of mine. Take a fitter 
course, one more becoming your own character and profession. 
Do not lead him to fail in an engagement of honour, by holding 
out the prospect of another engagement equally dishonourable, 
whether false or true. Go to the King himself, speak to him, 
as the servants of God have a right to speak, even to earthly 
sovereigns. Point out to him] the folly and the wickedness of 
the course he is about to pursue — urge upon him, that he fear 
the sword, since wrath bringeth the punishment of the sword. 
Tell him, that the friends who died for him in the field at 
Worcester, on the scaffolds, and on the gibbets, since that 
bloody day — that the remnant who are in prison, scattered, fled, 
and ruined on his account, deserve better of him and his father's 
race, than that he should throw away his life in an idle brawl 
— Tell him, that it is dishonest to venture that which is not 
his own, dishonourable to betray the trust which brave men 
have reposed in his virtue and in his courage." 

Dr. Rochecliffe looked on her with a melancholy smile, his 
eyes glistening as he said, " Alas ! Alice, even I could not plead 
that just cause to him so eloquently or so impressively as thou 
dost. But, alack ! Charles would listen to neither. It is not 
from priests or women, he would say, that men should receive 
counsel in affairs of honour." 

"Then, hear me, Doctor Rochecliffe — I will appear at the 
place of rendezvous, and I will prevent the combat — do not 
fear that I can do what I say — at a sacrifice, indeed, but not that ! 
of my reputation. My heart may be broken" — she endeavoured 
to stifle her sobs with difficulty — " for the consequence ; but 
not in the imagination of a man, and far less that man her ' 
sovereign, shall a thought of Alice Lee be associated with 
dishonour." She hid her face in her handkerchief, and burst 
out into unrestrained tears. 

" What means this hysterical passion ? " said Dr. Rochecliffe, 
surprised and somewhat alarmed by the vehemence of her grief 
— *" Maiden, I must have no concealments ; I must know." 



WOODSTOCK 291 

" Exert your ingenuity, then, and discover it," said Alice — 
for a moment put out of temper at the Doctor's pertinacious 
self-importance — " Guess my purpose, as you can guess at every- 
thing else. It is enough to have to go through my task, I will 
not endure the distress of telling it over, and that to one who 
— forgive me, dear Doctor — might not think my agitation on 
this occasion fully warranted." 

"Nay, then, my young mistress, you must be ruled," said 
RocheclifFe ; " and if I cannot make you explain yourself, I 
must see whether your father can gain so far on you." So 
saying, he arose somewhat displeased, and walked towards the 
door. 

" You forget what you yourself told me, Doctor RocheclifFe," 
said Alice, "of the risk of communicating this great secret to 
my father." 

" It is too true," he said, stopping short and turning round ; 
"and I think, wench, thou art too smart for me, and I have 
not met many such. But thou art a good girl, and wilt tell 
me thy device of free will — it concerns my character and influ- 
ence with the King, that I should be fully acquainted with 
whatever is actum atque tractatum, done and treated of in this 
matter." 

"Trust your character to me, good Doctor," said Alice, 
attempting to smile ; " it is of firmer stuff than those of women, 
and will be safer in my custody than mine could have been in 
yours. And thus much I condescend — you shall see the whole 
scene — you shall go with me yourself, and much will I feel 
emboldened and heartened by your company." 

" That is something," said the Doctor, though not altogether 
satisfied with this limited confidence. "Thou wert ever a 
clever wench, and I will trust thee ; indeed, trust thee I find I 
must, whether voluntarily or no." 

"Meet me, then," said Alice, "in the wilderness to-morrow. 
But first tell me, are you well assured of time and place ? — a 
mistake were fatal." 

"Assure yourself my information is entirely accurate," said 
the Doctor, resuming his air of consequence, which had been a 
little diminished during the latter part of their conference. 

" May I ask," said Alice, " through what channel you acquired 
such important information ? " 

"You may ask, unquestionably," he answered, now com- 
pletely restored to his supremacy ; " but whether I will answer 
or not is a very different question. I conceive neither your 
reputation nor my own is interested in your remaining in 
ignorance on that subject. So I have my secrets as well as you, 
mistress; and some of them, I fancy, are a good deal more 
worth knowing." 



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u Be it so," said Alice quietly ; " if you will meet me in the 
wilderness by the broken dial at half-past five exactly, we will 
go together to-morrow, and watch them as they come to the 
rendezvous. I will on the way get the better of my present 
timidity, and explain to you the means I design to employ to 
prevent mischief. You can perhaps think of making some 
effort which may render my interference, unbecoming and 
painful as it must be, altogether unnecessary." 

" Nay, my child," said the Doctor, " if you place yourself in 
my hands, you will be the first that ever had reason to complain 
of my want of conduct, and you may well judge you are the 
very last (one excepted) whom I would see suffer for want of 
counsel. At half-past five, then, at the dial in the wilderness — 
and God bless our undertaking ! " 

Here their interview was interrupted by the sonorous voice 
of Sir Henry Lee, which shouted their names, " Daughter Alice 
— Doctor Rochecliffe," through passage and gallery. 

"What do you here," said he, entering, "sitting like two 
crows in a mist, when we have such rare sport below ? Here 
is this wild crack-brained boy Louis Kerneguy, now making 
me laugh till my sides are fit to split, and now playing on his 
guitar sweetly enough to win a lark from the heavens. — Come 
away with you, come away. It is hard work to laugh alone." 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

This is the place, the centre of the grove ; 
Here stands the oak, the monarch of the wood. 

—John Home. 

The sun had risen on the broad boughs of the forest, but with- 
out the power of penetrating into its recesses, which hung rich 
with heavy dewdrops, and were beginning on some of the trees 
to exhibit the varied tints of autumn ; it being the season when 
Nature, like a prodigal whose race is well-nigh run, seems 
desirous to make up in profuse gaiety and variety of colours, for 
the short space which her splendour has then to endure. The 
birds were silent — and even Robin-redbreast, whose chirruping 
song was heard among the bushes near the Lodge, emboldened 
by the largesses with which the good old knight always en- 
couraged his familiarity, did not venture into the recesses of 
the wood, where he encountered the sparrow-hawk, and other 
enemies of a similar description, preferring the vicinity of the 
dwellings of man, from whom he, almost solely among the 
feathered tribes, seems to experience disinterested protection. 



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The scene was therefore at once lovely and silent, when the 
good Dr. Rochecliffe, wrapped in a scarlet roquelaure, which had 
seen service in its day, muffling his face more from habit than 
necessity, and supporting Alice on his arm (she also defended 
by a cloak against the cold and damp of the autumn morning), 
glided through the tangled and long grass of the darkest alleys, 
almost ankle-deep in dew, towards the place appointed for the 
intended duel. Both so eagerly maintained the consultation 
in which they were engaged, that they were alike insensible of 
the roughness and discomforts of the road, though often obliged 
to force their way through brushwood and coppice, which 
poured down on them all the liquid pearls with which they 
were loaded, till the mantles they were wrapped in hung lank 
by their sides, and clung to their shoulders heavily charged with 
moisture. They stopped when they had attained a station 
under the coppice, and shrouded by it, from which they could 
see all that passed on the little esplanade before the King's 
Oak, whose broad and scathed form, contorted and shattered 
limbs, and frowning brows, made it appear like some ancient 
war-worn champion, well selected to be the umpire of a field 
of single combat. 

The first person who appeared at the rendezvous was the gay 
cavalier Roger Wildrake. He also was wrapped in his cloak, 
but had discarded his puritanic beaver, and wore in its stead a 
Spanish hat, with a feather and gilt hatband, all of which had 
encountered bad weather and hard service ; but to make 
amends for the appearance of poverty by the show of preten- 
sion, the castor was accurately adjusted after what was rather 
profanely called the d — me cut, used among the more desperate 
cavaliers. He advanced hastily, and exclaimed aloud — "First 
in the field after all, by Jove, though I bilked Everard in order 
to have my morning draught. — It has done me much good," 
he added, smacking his lips. — " Well, I suppose I should search 
the ground ere my principal comes up, whose Presbyterian watch 
trudges as slow as his Presbyterian step." 

He took his rapier from under his cloak, and seemed about 
to search the thickets around. 

" I will prevent him," whispered the Doctor to Alice. u I 
will keep faith with you — you shall not come on the scene — 
nisi dignus vindice nodus — I'll explain that another time. Vindex 
is feminine as well as masculine, so the quotation is defensible. 
— Keep you close." 

So saying, he stepped forward on the esplanade, and bowed 
to Wildrake. 

" Master Louis Kerneguy," said Wildrake, pulling off his hat ; 
but instantly discovering his error, he added, "But no — I beg 
your pardon, sir — Fatter, shorter, older. — Mr. Kerneguy's friend, 



294 WOODSTOCK 

I suppose, with whom I hope to have a turn by-and-by. — And 
why not now, sir, before our principals come up? just a snack 
to stay the orifice of the stomach, till the dinner is served, sir ? 
What say you ? " 

" To open the orifice of the stomach more likely, or to give it 
a new one," said the Doctor. 

" True, sir," said Roger, who seemed now in his element ; 
te you say well — that is as thereafter may be. — But come, sir, you 
wear your face muffled. I grant you, it is honest men's fashion 
at this unhappy time; the more is the pity. But we do all 
above-board — we have no traitors here. Ill get into my gears 
first, to encourage you, and show you that you have to deal 
with a gentleman, who honours the King, and is a match fit to 
fight with any who follow him, as doubtless you do, sir, since 
you are the friend of Master Louis Kerneguy." 

All this while, Wildrake was busied undoing the clasps of his 
square-caped cloak. 

(e Off — off, ye lendings," he said, " borrowings I should more 
properly call you — 

* Via the curtain which shadow'd Borgia.' " 

So saying, he threw the cloak from him, and appeared in 
cuerpo, in a most cavalier-like doublet, of greasy crimson satin, 
pinked and slashed with what had been once white tiffany ; 
breeches of the same ; and nether-stocks, or, as we now call 
them, stockings, darned in many places, and which, like those 
of Poins, had been once peach-coloured. A pair of pumps, ill 
calculated for a walk through the dew, and a broad shoulder- 
belt of tarnished embroidery, completed his equipment. 

a Come, sir ! " he exclaimed ; " make haste, off with your 
slough — Here I stand tight and true — as loyal a lad as ever 
stuck rapier through a Roundhead. — Come, sir, to your tools ! " 
he continued ; " we may have half-a-dozen thrusts before they 
come yet, and shame them for their tardiness. — Pshaw ! " he 
exclaimed, in a most disappointed tone, when the Doctor, 
unfolding his cloak, showed his clerical dress ; " Tush ! it's but 
the parson after all ! " 

Wildrake's respect for the Church, however, and his desire to 
remove one who might possibly interrupt a scene to which he 
looked forward with peculiar satisfaction, induced him presently 
to assume another tone. 

u I beg pardon," he said, " my dear Doctor — I kiss the hem 
of your cassock — I do, by the thundering Jove — I beg your 
pardon again. — But I am happy I have met with you — They 
are raving for your presence at the Lodge — to marry, or 
christen, or bury, or confess, or something very urgent. — For 
Heaven's sake, make haste ! " 



WOODSTOCK 



295 



" At the Lodge ? " said the Doctor ; " why, I left the Lodge 
this instant — I was there later, I am sure, than you could be, 
who came the Woodstock road." 

" Well/' replied Wildrake, " it is at Woodstock they want 
you. — Rat it, did I say the Lodge? — No, no — Woodstock — 
Mine host cannot be hanged — his daughter married — his bastard 
christened, or his wife buried — without the assistance of a real 
clergyman — Your Holdenoughs won't do for them. — He's a true 
man mine host ; so, as you value your function, make haste." 

" You will pardon me, Master Wildrake," said the Doctor — 
E I wait for Master Louis Kerneguy." 

" The devil you do ! " exclaimed Wildrake. " Why, I always 
knew the Scots could do nothing without their minister ; but 
d — n it, I never thought they put them to this use neither. 
But I have known jolly customers in orders, who understood 
to handle the sword as well as their prayer-book. You know 
the purpose of our meeting, Doctor. Do you come only as a 
ghostly comforter — or as a surgeon, perhaps — or do you ever 
take bilboa in hand ? — Sa — sa ! " 

Here he made a fencing demonstration with his sheathed 
rapier. 

"I have done so, sir, on necessary occasion," said Dr. 
Rochecliffe. 

" Good sir, let this stand for a necessary one," said Wildrake. 
"You know my devotion for the Church. If a divine of your 
skill would do me the honour to exchange but three passes 
with me, I should think myself happy for ever." 

"Sir," said Rochecliffe, smiling, "were there no other 
objection to what you propose, I have not the means — I have 
no weapon." 

" What ? you want the de quoi ? that is unlucky indeed. 
But you have a stout cane in your hand — what hinders our 
trying a pass (my rapier being sheathed of course) until our 
principals come up? My pumps are full of this frost-dew; 
and I shall be a toe or two out of pocket, if I am to stand 
still all the time they are stretching themselves ; for, I fancy, 
Doctor, you are of my opinion, that the matter will not be a 
fight of cock-sparrows." 

" My business here is to make it, if possible, be no fight at 
all," said the divine. 

" Now, rat me, Doctor, but that is too spiteful," said Wild- 
rake ; " and were it not for my respect for the Church, I could 
turn Presbyterian, to be revenged." 

" Stand back a little, if you please, sir," said the Doctor ; 
"do not press forward in that direction." — For Wildrake, in 
the agitation of his movements, induced by his disappointment, 
approached the spot where Alice remained still concealed. 



296 



WOODSTOCK 



"And wherefore not, I pray you, Doctor?" said the 
cavalier. 

But on advancing a step, he suddenly stopped short, and 
muttered to himself, with a round oath of astonishment, "A 
petticoat in the coppice, by all that is reverend, and at this 
hour in the morning — Whew — erv — en>!" — He gave vent to 
his surprise in a long low interjectional whistle ; then turning 
to the Doctor, with his finger on the side of his nose, " You're 
sly, Doctor, d — d sly ! But why not give me a hint of your — 
your commodity there — your contraband goods ? Gad, sir, I am 
not a man to expose the eccentricities of the Church." 

" Sir," said Dr. RocheclifFe, " you are impertinent ; and if 
time served, and it were worth my while, I would chastise 
you." 

And the Doctor, who had served long enough in the wars to 
have added some of the qualities of a captain of horse to those 
of a divine, actually raised his cane, to the infinite delight of 
the rake, whose respect for the Church was by no means able 
to subdue his love of mischief. 

" Nay, Doctor," said he, " if you wield your weapon back- 
sword-fashion, in that way, and raise it as high as your head, 
I shall be through you in a twinkling." So saying, he made 
a pass with his sheathed rapier, not precisely at the Doctor's 
person, but in that direction ; when Rochecliffe, changing the 
direction of his cane from the broadsword guard to that of the 
rapier, made the cavalier's sword spring ten yards out of his 
hand, with all the dexterity of my friend Francalanza. At 
this moment both the principal parties appeared on the field. 

Everard exclaimed angrily to Wildrake, " Is this your friend- 
ship ? In Heaven's name, what make you in that fool's jacket, 
and playing the pranks of a jack-pudding ? " while his worthy 
second, somewhat crestfallen, held down his head, like a boy 
caught in roguery, and went to pick up his weapon, stretching 
his head, as he passed, into the coppice, to obtain another 
glimpse, if possible, of the concealed object of his curiosity. 

Charles, in the meantime, still more surprised at what he 
beheld, called out on his part — " What ! Doctor Rochecliffe 
become literally one of the church militant, and tilting with 
my friend cavalier Wildrake ? May I use the freedom to ask 
him to withdraw, as Colonel Everard and I have some private 
business to settle ? " 

It was Dr. Rochecliffe's cue, on this important occasion, to 
have armed himself with the authority of his sacred office, 
and used a tone of interference which might have overawed 
even a monarch, and made him feel that his monitor spoke by 
a warrant higher than his own. But the indiscreet latitude he 
had just given to his own passion, and the levity in which he 



WOODSTOCK 297 

had been detected, were very unfavourable to his assuming that 
superiority, to which so uncontrollable a spirit as that of Charles, 
wilful as a prince, and capricious as a wit, was at all likely to 
submit. The Doctor did, however, endeavour to rally his dignity, 
and replied, with the gravest, and at the same time the most 
respectful, tone he could assume, that he also had business of 
the most urgent nature, which prevented him from complying 
with Master Kerneguy's wishes, and leaving that spot. 

"Excuse this untimely interruption," said Charles, taking 
off his hat, and bowing to Colonel Everard, " which I will 
immediately put an end to." 

Everard gravely returned his salute, and was silent. 

"Are you mad, Doctor Rochecliffe ?" said Charles — "or are 
you deaf? — or have you forgotten your mother-tongue? I 
desired you to leave this place." 

" I am not mad," said the divine, rousing up his resolution, 
and regaining the natural firmness of his voice — "I would 
prevent others from being so ; — I am not deaf — I would pray 
others to hear the voice of reason and religion ; — I have not 
forgotten my mother-tongue — but I have come hither to speak 
the language of the Master of kings and princes." 

"To fence with broomsticks, I should rather suppose," said 
the King — "Come, Doctor Rochecliffe, this sudden fit of 
assumed importance befits you as little as your late frolic. 
You are not, I apprehend, either a Catholic priest or a Scotch 
Mass-John to claim devoted obedience from your hearers, but 
a Church-of- England-man, subject to the rules of that Com- 
munion — and to its Head." In speaking the last words, the 
King lowered his voice to a low and impressive whisper. 
Everard observing this drew back, the natural generosity of his 
temper directing him to avoid overhearing private discourse, in 
which the safety of the speakers might be deeply concerned. 
They continued, however, to observe great caution in their 
forms of expression. 

"Master Kerneguy," said the clergyman, "it is not I who 
assume authority or control over your wishes — God forbid ; I 
do but tell you what reason, Scripture, religion, and morality 
alike prescribe for your rule of conduct." 

"And I, Doctor," said the King, smiling, and pointing to 
the unlucky cane, "will take your example rather than your 
precept. If a reverend clergyman will himself fight a bout at 
single-stick, what right can he have to interfere in gentlemen's 
quarrels ? — Come, sir, remove yourself, and do not let your 
present obstinacy cancel former obligations." 

"Bethink yourself," said the divine, — "I can say one word 
which will prevent all this." 

" Do it," replied the King, " and in doing so belie the whole 



298 



WOODSTOCK 



tenor and actions of an honourable life — abandon the prin- 
ciples of your Church, and become a perjured traitor and an 
apostate, to prevent another person from discharging his duty 
as a gentleman ! This were indeed killing your friend to pre- 
vent the risk of his running himself into danger. Let the 
Passive Obedience, which is so often in your mouth, and no 
doubt in your head, put your feet for once into motion, and 
step aside for ten minutes. Within that space your assistance 
may be needed, either as body-curer or soul-curer." 

" Nay, then," said Dr. Rochecliffe, " I have but one argu- 
ment left." 

While this conversation was carried on apart, Everard had 
almost forcibly detained by his own side his follower, Wildrake, 
whose greater curiosity, and lesser delicacy, would otherwise 
have thrust him forward, to get, if possible, into the secret. But 
when he saw the Doctor turn into the coppice, he whispered 
eagerly to Everard, — " A gold Carolus to a commonwealth 
farthing, the Doctor has not only come to preach a peace, 
but has brought the principal conditions along with him ! " 

Everard made no answer; he had already unsheathed his 
sword ; and Charles hardly saw Rochecliffe's back fairly turned, 
than he lost no time in following his example. But, ere they 
had done more than salute each other, with the usual courteous 
flourish of their weapons, Dr. Rochecliffe again stood between 
them, leading in his hand Alice Lee, her garments dank 
with dew, and her long hair heavy with moisture, and totally 
uncurled. Her face was extremely pale, but it was the paleness 
of desperate resolution, not of fear. There was a dead pause 
of astonishment — the combatants rested on their swords — and 
even the forwardness of Wildrake only vented itself in half- 
suppressed ejaculations, as, "Well done, Doctor — this beats 
the f parson among the pease ' — No less than your patron's 
daughter — And Mistress Alice, whom I thought a very snow- 
drop, turned out a dog-violet after all — a Lindabrides, by 
heavens, and altogether one of ourselves ! " 

Excepting these unheeded mutterings, Alice was the first to 
speak. 

"Master Everard," she said — "Master Kerneguy, you are 
surprised to see me here — Yet, why should I not tell the 
reason at once ? Convinced that I am, however guiltlessly, 
the unhappy cause of your misunderstanding, I am too much 
interested to prevent fatal consequences to pause upon any step 
which may end it. — Master Kerneguy, have my wishes, my 
entreaties, my prayers — have your noble thoughts — the recol- 
lections of your own high duties, no weight with you in this 
matter ? Let me entreat you to consult reason, religion, and 
common sense, and return your weapon." 



WOODSTOCK 299 

" I am obedient as an Eastern slave, madam," answered 
Charles, sheathing his sword ; " but I assure you, the matter 
about which you distress yourself is a mere trifle, which will be 
much better settled betwixt Colonel Everard and myself in five 
minutes, than with the assistance of the whole Convocation of 
the Church, with a female parliament to assist their reverend 
deliberations. — Mr. Everard, will you oblige me by walking a 
little farther ? — We must change ground, it seems." 

"I am ready to attend you, sir," said Everard, who had 
sheathed his sword so soon as his antagonist did so. 

"I have then no interest with you, sir," said Alice, con- 
tinuing to address the King — " Do you not fear I should use 
the secret in my power to prevent this affair going to ex- 
tremity ? Think you this gentleman, who raises his hand 
against you, if he knew " 

" If he knew that I were Lord Wilmot, madam, you would 
say ? — Accident has given him proof to that effect, with which 
he is already satisfied, and I think you would find it difficult 
to induce him to embrace a different opinion." 

Alice paused, and looked on the King with great indigna- 
tion, the following words dropping from her mouth by inter- 
vals, as if they burst forth one by one in spite of feelings that 
would have restrained them — "Cold — selfish — ungrateful — un- 
kind ! — Woe to the land which " Here she paused with 

marked emphasis, then added — "which shall number thee, or 
such as thee, among her nobles and rulers ! " 

" Nay, fair Alice," said Charles, whose good nature could not 
but feel the severity of this reproach, though too slightly to 
make all the desired impression, " You are too unjust to me — 
too partial to a happier man. Do not call me unkind ; I am 
but here to answer Mr. Everard's summons. I could neither 
decline attending, nor withdraw now I am here, without loss 
of honour ; and my loss of honour would be a disgrace which 
must extend to many — I cannot fly from Mr. Everard — it 
would be too shameful. If he abides by his message, it must be 
decided as such affairs usually are. If he retreats or yields it 
up, I will, for your sake, waive punctilio. I will not even ask 
an apology for the trouble it has afforded me, but let all pass 
as if it were the consequence of some unhappy mistake, the 
grounds of which shall remain on my part uninquired into. — 
This I will do for your sake, and it is much for a man of 
honour to condescend so far — You know that the condescension 
from me in particular is great indeed. Then do not call me 
ungenerous, or ungrateful, or unkind, since I am ready to do 
all which, as a man, I can do, and more perhaps than as a 
man of honour I ought to do." 

" Do you hear this, Markham Everard," exclaimed Alice — 



300 



WOODSTOCK 



" do you hear this ? — The dreadful option is left entirely at 
your disposal. You were wont to be temperate in passion, 
religious, forgiving — will you, for a mere punctilio, drive on 
this private and unchristian broil to a murderous extremity ? 
Believe me, if you now, contrary to all the better principles of 
your life, give the reins to your passions, the consequences 
may be such as you will rue for your lifetime, and even, if 
Heaven have not mercy, rue after your life is finished." 

Markham Everard remained for a moment gloomily silent, 
with his eyes fixed on the ground. At length he looked up, 
and answered her — "Alice, you are a soldier's daughter — a 
soldier's sister. All your relations, even including one whom 
you then entertained some regard for, have been made soldiers 
by these unhappy discords. Yet you have seen them take the 
field — in some instances on contrary sides, to do their duty 
where their principles called them, without manifesting 1 this 
extreme degree of interest. Answer me — and your answer 
shall decide my conduct — Is this youth, so short while known, 
already of more value to you than those dear connections, father, 
brother, and kinsman, whose departure to battle you saw with 
comparative indifference ? — Say this, and it shall be enough — 
I leave the ground, never to see you or this country again." 

" Stay, Markham, stay ; and believe me when I say, that if 
I answer your question in the affirmative, it is because Master 
Kerneguy's safety comprehends more, much more, than that of 
any of those you have mentioned.' ' 

" Indeed ! I did not know a coronet had been so superior in 
value to the crest of a private gentleman," said Everard; "yet 
I have heard that many women think so." 

" You apprehend me amiss," said Alice, perplexed between 
the difficulty of so expressing herself as to prevent immediate 
mischief, and at the same time anxious to combat the jealousy 
and disarm the resentment which she saw arising in the bosom 
of her lover. But she found no words fine enough to draw the 
distinction, without leading to a discovery of the King's actual 
character, and perhaps, in consequence, to his destruction. — 
"Markham," she said, "have compassion on me. Press me 
not at this moment ; believe me, the honour and happiness of 
my father, of my brother, and of my whole family, are inter- 
ested in Master Kerneguy's safety, are inextricably concerned in 
this matter resting where it now does." 

" Oh, ay — I doubt not," said Everard ; " the House of Lee 
ever looked up to nobility, and valued in their connections the 
fantastic loyalty of a courtier beyond the sterling and honest 
patriotism of a plain country gentleman. For them, the thing 
is in course. But on your part, you, Alice — Oh ! on your part, 
whom I have loved so dearly — who has suffered me to think 



WOODSTOCK 



301 



that my affection was not unrepaid — Can the attractions of an 
empty title, the idle court compliments of a mere man of 
quality, during only a few hours, lead you to prefer a libertine 
lord to such a heart as mine ? " 

"No, no — believe me, no," said Alice, in the extremity of 
distress. 

" Put your answer, which seems so painful, in one word, and 
say for whose safety it is you are thus deeply interested ? " 
" For both — for both," said Alice. 

"That answer will not serve, Alice," answered Everard — 
if here is no room for equality. I must and will know to what 
I have to trust. I understand not the paltering which makes 
a maiden unwilling to decide betwixt two suitors ; nor would 
I willingly impute to you the vanity that cannot remain con- 
tented with one lover at once." 

The vehemence of Everard's displeasure, when he supposed 
his own long and sincere devotion lightly forgotten, amid the 
addresses of a profligate courtier, awakened the spirit of Alice 
Lee, who, as we elsewhere said, had a portion in her temper of 
the lion-humour that was characteristic of her family. 

" If I am thus misinterpreted," she said — " if I am not judged 
worthy of the least confidence or candid construction, hear my 
declaration, and my assurance, that, strange as my words may 
seem, they are, when truly interpreted, such as do you no 
wrong. I tell you — I tell all present — and I tell this gentle- 
man himself, who well knows the sense in which I speak, that 
his life and safety are, or ought to be, of more value to me than 
those of any other man in the kingdom — nay, in the world, be 
that other who he will." 

These words she spoke in a tone so firm and decided as ad- 
mitted no farther discussion. Charles bowed low and with 
gravity, but remained silent. Everard, his features agitated by 
the emotions which his pride barely enabled him to suppress, 
advanced to his antagonist, and said, in a tone which he vainly 
endeavoured to make a firm one, "Sir, you heard the lady's 
declaration, with such feelings, doubtless of gratitude, as the 
case eminently demands. — As her poor kinsman, and an un- 
worthy suitor, sir, I presume to yield my interest in her to you ; 
and, as I will never be the means of giving her pain, I trust 
you will not think I act unworthily in retracting the letter 
which gave you the trouble of attending this place at this hour. 
— Alice," he said, turning his head towards her, "Farewell, 
Alice, at once, and for ever ! " 

The poor young lady, whose adventitious spirit had almost 
deserted her, attempted to repeat the word farewell, but failing 
in the attempt, only accomplished a broken and imperfect 
sound, and would have sunk to the ground, but for Dr. Roche- 



302 WOODSTOCK 

cliffe, who caught her as she fell. Roger Wildrake, also, who 
had twice or thrice put to his eyes what remained of a kerchief, 
interested by the lady's evident distress, though unable to com- 
prehend the mysterious cause, hastened to assist the divine in 
supporting so fair a burden. 

Meanwhile, the disguised Prince had beheld the whole in 
silence, but with an agitation to which he was unwonted, and 
which his swarthy features, and still more his motions, began to 
betray. His posture was at first absolutely stationary, with his 
arms folded on his bosom, as one who waits to be guided by 
the current of events ; presently after, he shifted his position, 
advanced and retired his foot, clenched and opened his hand, 
and otherwise showed symptoms that he was strongly agitated 
by contending feelings — was on the point, too, of forming some 
sudden resolution, and yet still in uncertainty what course he 
should pursue. 

But when he saw Markham Everard, after one look of un- 
speakable anguish towards Alice, turning his back to depart, 
he broke out into his familiar ejaculation, " Oddsfish ! this must 
not be." In three strides he overtook the slowly retiring 
Everard, tapped him smartly on the shoulder, and as he turned 
round, said, with an air of command, which he well knew how 
to adopt at pleasure, " One word with you, sir." (j 

<e At your pleasure, sir," replied Everard ; and naturally con- 
jecturing the purpose of his antagonist to be hostile, took hold 
of his rapier with the left hand, and laid the right on the hilt, 
not displeased at the supposed call; for anger is at least as 
much akin to disappointment as pity is said to be to love. 

te Pshaw ! " answered the King, " that cannot be now — Colonel 
Everard, I am Charles Stewart ! " 

Everard recoiled in the greatest surprise, and next exclaimed, 
" Impossible — it cannot be ! The King of Scots has escaped 
from Bristol. — My Lord Wilmot, your talents for intrigue are 
well known ; but this will not pass upon me." 

" The King of Scots, Master Everard," replied Charles, " since 
you are so pleased to limit his sovereignty — at any rate, the 
Eldest Son of the late Sovereign of Britain — is now before 
you ; therefore it is impossible he could have escaped from 
Bristol. Doctor Rochecliffe shall be my voucher, and will tell 
you, moreover, that Wilmot is of a fair complexion and light 
hair ; mine, you may see, is swart as a raven." 

Rochecliffe, seeing what was passing, abandoned Alice to the 
care of Wildrake, whose extreme delicacy in the attempts he 
made to bring her back to life, formed an amiable contrast to 
his usual wildness, and occupied him so much, that he remained 
for the moment ignorant of the disclosure in which he would 
have been so much interested. As for Dr. Rochecliffe, he came 



WOODSTOCK 303 

forward, wringing his hands in all the demonstration of extreme 
anxiety, and with the usual exclamations attending such a 
state. 

" Peace, Doctor Rochecliffe ! " said the King, with such com- 
plete self-possession as indeed became a prince ; " we are in 
the hands, I am satisfied, of a man of honour. Master Everard 
must be pleased in finding only a fugitive prince in the person 
in whom he thought he had discovered a successful rival. He 
cannot but be aware of the feelings which prevented me from 
taking advantage of the cover which this young lady's devoted 
loyalty afforded me, at the risk of her own happiness. He is 
the party who is to profit by my candour ; and certainly I have 
a right to expect that my condition, already indifferent enough, 
shall not be rendered worse by his becoming privy to it under such 
circumstances. At any rate, the avowal is made ; and it is for 
Colonel Everard to consider how he is to conduct himself." 

"Oh, your Majesty ! my Liege! my King ! my royal Prince ! " 
exclaimed Wildrake, who, at length discovering what was pass- 
ing, had crawled on his knees, and seizing the King's hand, was 
kissing it, more like a child mumbling gingerbread, or like a 
lover devouring the yielded hand of his mistress, than in the 
manner in which such salutations pass at court — " If my dear 
friend Mark Everard should prove a dog on this occasion, rely 
on me I will cut his throat on the spot, were I to do the same 
for myself the moment afterwards ! " 

tf Hush, hush, my good friend and loyal subject," said the 
King, " and compose yourself ; for though I am obliged to put 
on the Prince for a moment, we have not privacy or safety to 
receive our subjects in King Cambyses' vein." 

Everard, who had stood for a time utterly confounded, awoke 
at length like a man from a dream. 

" Sire," he said, bowing low, and with profound deference, 
Y if I do not offer you the homage of a subject with knee and 
sword, it is because God, by whom kings reign, has denied you 
for the present the power of ascending your throne without 
rekindling civil war. For your safety being endangered by me, 
let not such an imagination for an instant cross your mind. 
Had I not respected your person — were I not bound to you for 
the candour with which your noble avowal has prevented the 
misery of my future life, your misfortunes would have rendered 
your person as sacred, so far as I can protect it, as it could be 
esteemed by the most devoted royalist in the kingdom. If 
your plans are soundly considered, and securely laid, think that 
all which is now passed is but a dream. If they are in such a 
state that I can aid them, saving my duty to the Commonwealth, 
which will permit me to be privy to no schemes of actual 
violence, your Majesty may command my services." 



304 WOODSTOCK 

" It may be I may be troublesome to you, sir," said the King ; 
"for my fortunes are not such as to permit me to reject even 
the most limited offers of assistance ; but if I can, I will dispense 
with applying to you. I would not willingly put any man's com- 
passion at war with his sense of duty on my account. — Doctor, I 
think there will be no farther tilting to-day, either with sword 
or cane ; so we may as well return to the Lodge, and leave 
these " — looking at Alice and Everard — " who may have more 
to say in explanation." 

" No — no ! '* exclaimed Alice, who was now perfectly come to 
herself, and partly by her own observation, and partly from the 
report of Dr. Rochecliffe, comprehended all that had taken place 
— " My cousin Everard and I have nothing to explain ; he will 
forgive me for having riddled with him when I dared not speak 
plainly ; and I forgive him for having read my riddle wrong. 
But my father has my promise — we must not correspond or 
converse for the present — I return instantly to the Lodge and 
he to Woodstock, unless you, sire," bowing to the King, " com- 
mand his duty otherwise. Instant to the town, Cousin Mark- 
ham ; and if danger should approach, give us warning." 

Everard would have delayed her departure, would have 
excused himself for his unjust suspicion, would have said a 
thousand things ; but she would not listen to him, saying, for 
all other answer, — " Farewell, Markham, till God send better 
days ! " 

"She is an angel of truth and beauty," said Roger Wild- 
rake ; " and I, like a blasphemous heretic, called her a Linda- 
brides ! * But has your Majesty, craving your pardon, no 
commands for poor Hodge Wildrake, who will blow out his 
own or any other man's brains in England, to do your Grace 
a pleasure ? " 

" We entreat our good friend Wildrake to do nothing hastily," 
said Charles, smiling ; " such brains as his are rare, and should 
not be rashly dispersed, as the like may not be easily collected. 
We recommend him to be silent and prudent — to tilt no more 
with loyal clergymen of the Church of England, and to get 
himself a new jacket with all convenient speed, to which we 
beg to contribute our royal aid. When fit time comes, we hope 
to find other service for him." 

As he spoke, he slid ten pieces into the hand of poor Wild- 
rake, who, confounded with the excess of his loyal gratitude, 
blubbered like a child, and would have followed the King, had 
not Dr. Rochecliffe, in a few words, but peremptory, insisted 
that he should return with his patron, promising him he should 
certainly be employed in assisting the King's escape, could an 
opportunity be found of using his services. 

* A sort of court name for a female of no reputation. 



WOODSTOCK 305 

" Be so generous, reverend sir, and you bind me to you for 
ever/' said the cavalier; "and I conjure you not to keep malice 
against me on account of the foolery you wot of." 

"I have no occasion, Captain Wildrake," said the Doctor, 
" for I think I had the best of it." 

" Well, then, Doctor, I forgive you on my part ; and I pray 
you, for Christian charity, let me have a finger in this good 
service ; for as I live in hope of it, rely that I shall die of 
disappointment." 

While the Doctor and soldier thus spoke together, Charles 
took leave of Everard (who remained uncovered while he spoke 
to him) with his usual grace — " I need not bid you no longer 
be jealous of me," said the King; "for I presume you will 
scarce think of a match betwixt Alice and me, which would be 
too losing a one on her side. For other thoughts, the wildest 
libertine could not entertain them towards so high-minded a 
creature ; and believe me, that my sense of her merit did not 
need this last distinguished proof of her truth and loyalty. I 
saw enough of her from her answers to some idle sallies of 
gallantry, to know with what a lofty character she is endowed. 
Mr. Everard, her happiness I see depends on you, and I trust 
you will be the careful guardian of it. If we can take any 
obstacle out of the way of your joint happiness, be assured we 
will use our influence. — Farewell, sir; if we cannot be better 
friends, do not at least let us entertain harder or worse thoughts 
of each other than we have now." 

There was something in the manner of Charles that was 
extremely affecting ; something, too, in his condition as a 
fugitive in the kingdom which was his own by inheritance, 
that made a direct appeal to Everard* s bosom — though in con- 
tradiction to the dictates of that policy which he judged it his 
duty to pursue in the distracted circumstances of the country. 
He remained, as we have said, uncovered; and in his manner 
testified the highest expression of reverence, up to the point 
when such might seem a symbol of allegiance. He bowed so 
low as almost to approach his lips to the hand of Charles — but 
he did not kiss it. — " I would rescue your person, sir," he said, 
"with the purchase of my own life. More — " He stopped 
short, and the King took up his sentence where it broke off — 
"More you cannot do," said Charles, "to maintain an honour- 
able consistency — but what you have said is enough. You 
cannot render homage to my proffered hand as that of a 
sovereign, but you will not prevent my taking yours as a friend 
— if you allow me to call myself so — I am sure, as a well- 
wisher at least." 

The generous soul of Everard was touched — He took the 
King's hand, and pressed it to his lips. 

u 



306 WOODSTOCK 

" Oh ! " he said, " were better times to come " 

"Bind yourself to nothing, dear Everard," said the good- 
natured Prince, partaking his emotion — "We reason ill while 
our feelings are moved. I will recruit no man to his loss, nor 
will I have my fallen fortunes involve those of others, because 
they have humanity enough to pity my present condition. If 
better times come, why, we will meet again, and I hope to our 
mutual satisfaction. If not, as your future father-in-law would 
say " (a benevolent smile came over his face, and accorded not 
unmeetly with his glistening eyes), — " If not, this parting was 
well made." 

Everard turned away with a deep bow, almost choking under 
contending feelings ; the uppermost of which was a sense of the 
generosity with which Charles, at his own imminent risk, had 
cleared away the darkness that seemed about to overwhelm his 
prospects of happiness for life — mixed with a deep sense of the 
perils by which he was environed. He returned to the little 
town, followed by his attendant Wildrake, who turned back so 
often, with weeping eyes, and hands clasped and uplifted as 
supplicating Heaven, that Everard was obliged to remind him 
that his gestures might be observed by some one, and occasion 
suspicion. 

The generous conduct of the King during the closing part 
of this remarkable scene had not escaped Alice's notice ; and, 
erasing at once from her mind all resentment of Charles's 
former conduct, and all the suspicions they had deservedly 
excited, awakened in her bosom a sense of the natural goodness 
of his disposition, which permitted her to unite regard for his 
person with that reverence for his high office in which she had 
been educated as a portion of her creed. She felt convinced, 
and delighted with the conviction, that his virtues were his 
own, his libertinism the fault of education, or rather want 
of education, and the corrupting advice of sycophants and 
flatterers. She could not know, or perhaps did not in that 
moment consider, that in a soil where no care is taken to 
eradicate tares, they will outgrow and smother the wholesome 
seed, even if the last is more natural to the soil. For, as Dr. 
Rochecliffe informed her afterwards for her edification, — pro- 
mising, as was his custom, to explain the precise words on 
some future occasion, if she would put him in mind — Virtus 
rectorem ducemque desiderat ; Vitia sine magistro discuntnr.* 

* The quotations of the learned doctor and antiquary were often left 
uninterpreted, though seldom uncommunicated, owing to his contempt for 
those who did not understand the learned languages, and his dislike to 
the labour of translation, for the benefit of ladies and of country gentle- 
men. That fair readers and country thanes may not on this occasion burst 
in ignorance, we add the meaning of the passage in the text — " Virtue re- 
quires the aid of a governor and director ; vices are learned without a teacher. 1 ' 



WOODSTOCK 307 

There was no room for such reflections at present. Conscious 
of mutual sincerity, by a sort of intellectual communication, 
through which individuals are led to understand each other 
better, perhaps, in delicate circumstances, than by words, 
reserve and simulation appeared to be now banished from the 
intercourse between the King and Alice. With manly frank- 
J ness, and, at the same time, with princely condescension, he 
requested her, exhausted as she was, to accept of his arm on 
the way homeward, instead of that of Dr. RocheclifFe ; and 
Alice accepted of his support with modest humility, but without 
a shadow of mistrust or fear. It seemed as if the last half-hour 
had satisfied them perfectly with the character of each other, 
and that each had full conviction of the purity and sincerity of 
the other's intentions. 

Dr. Rochecliffe, in the meantime, had fallen some four or 
five paces behind ; for, less light and active than Alice (who 
had, besides, the assistance of the King's support), he was 
unable, without effort and difficulty, to keep up with the 
pace of Charles, who then was, as we have elsewhere noticed, 
one of the best walkers in England, and was sometimes apt to 
forget (as great men will) that others were inferior to him in 
activity. 

" Dear Alice," said the King, but as if the epithet were 
entirely fraternal, " I like your Everard much — I would to God 
he were of our determination — But since that cannot be, I am 
sure he will prove a generous enemy." 

" May it please you, sire," said Alice modestly, but with 
some firmness, "my cousin will never be your Majesty's 
personal enemy — and he is one of the few on whose slightest 
word you may rely more than on the oath of those who 
profess more strongly and formally. He is utterly incapable 
of abusing your Majesty's" most generous and voluntary con- 
fidence." 

" On my honour, I believe so, Alice," replied the King : 
"But oddsfish ! my girl, let Majesty sleep for the present — it 
concerns my safety, as I told your brother lately — Call me sir, 
then, which belongs alike to king, peer, knight, and gentleman 
— or rather, let me be wild Louis Kerneguy again." 

Alice looked down, and shook her head. "That cannot be, 
please your Majesty." 

" What ! Louis was a saucy companion — a naughty pre- 
suming boy — and you cannot abide him ? — Well, perhaps you 
are right — But we will wait for Dr. Rochecliffe," he said, de- 
sirous, with good-natured delicacy, to make Alice aware that he 
had no purpose of engaging her in any discussion which could 
recall painful ideas. They paused accordingly, and again she 
felt relieved and grateful. 



3 o8 



WOODSTOCK 



" I cannot persuade our fair friend, Mistress Alice, Doctor/' 
said the King, " that she must, in prudence, forbear using titles 
of respect to me, while there are such very slender means of 
sustaining them." 

" It is a reproach to earth and to fortune," answered the 
divine, as fast as his recovered breath would permit him, " that 
your most sacred Majesty's present condition should not accord 
with the rendering of those honours which are your own by 
birth, and which, with God's blessing on the efforts of your 
loyal subjects, I hope to see rendered to you as your hereditary 
right, by the universal voice of the three kingdoms." 

" True, Doctor," replied the King ; " but, in the meanwhile, 
can you expound to Mistress Alice Lee two lines of Horace, 
which I have carried in my thick head several years, till now 
they have come pat to my purpose. As my canny subjects of 
Scotland say, If you keep a thing seven years you are sure to 
find a use for it at last — Telephus — ay, so it begins — 

' Telephus et Peleus, cum pauper et exul uterque, 
Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba.' " 

" I will explain the passage to Mistress Alice," said the 
Doctor, "when she reminds me of it — or rather" (he added, 
recollecting that his ordinary dilatory answer on such occasions 
ought not to be returned when the order for exposition emanated 
from his Sovereign), " I will repeat a poor couplet from my own 
translation of the poem — 

1 Heroes and kings, in exile forced to roam, 
Leave swelling phrase and seven-leagued words at home.' " 

" A most admirable version, Doctor," said Charles ; " I feel 
all its force, and particularly the beautiful rendering of sesqui- 
pedalia verba into seven-leagued boots — words, I mean — it re- 
minds me, like half the things I meet with in this world, of 
the Contes de Commere L'Oye."* 

Thus conversing they reached the Lodge ; and as the King 
went to his chamber to prepare for the breakfast summons, 
now impending, the idea crossed his mind, " Wilmot, and 
Villiers, and Killigrew, would laugh at me, did they hear of a 
campaign in which neither man nor woman had been conquered 
— But, oddsfish ! let them laugh as they will, there is some- 
thing at my heart which tells me, that for once in my life I 
have acted well." 

That day and the next were spent in tranquillity, the King 
waiting impatiently for the intelligence, which was to announce 
to him that a vessel was prepared somewhere on the coast. 



* Tales of Mother Goose. 



WOODSTOCK 309 

None such was yet in readiness ; but he learned that the in- 
defatigable Albert Lee was, at great personal risk, traversing 
the sea-coast from town to village, and endeavouring to find 
means of embarkation among the friends of the royal cause, 
and the correspondents of Dr. RocheclifFe. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

Ruffian, let go that rude uncivil touch ! 

— Two Gentlemen op Verona. 

It is time we should give some account of the other actors in 
our drama, the interest due to the principal personages having 
for some time engrossed our attention exclusively. 

We are therefore to inform the reader, that the lingering 
longings of the Commissioners, who had been driven forth of 
their proposed paradise of Woodstock, not by a cherub indeed, 
but, as they thought, by spirits of another sort, still detained 
them in the vicinity. They had, indeed, left the little borough 
under pretence of indifferent accommodation. The more palpable 
reasons were, that they entertained some resentment against 
Everard, as the means of their disappointment, and had no 
mind to reside where their proceedings could be overlooked by 
him, although they took leave in terms of the utmost respect. 
They went, however, no farther than Oxford, and remained 
there, as ravens, who are accustomed to witness the chase, sit 
upon a tree or crag, at a little distance, and watch the disem- 
bowelling of the deer, expecting the relics which fall to their 
share. Meantime, the University and City, but especially the 
former, supplied them with some means of employing their 
various faculties to advantage, until the expected moment 
when, as they hoped, they should either be summoned to 
Windsor, or Woodstock should once more be abandoned to 
their discretion. 

Bletson, to pass the time, vexed the souls of such learned 
and pious divines and scholars, as he could intrude his hateful 
presence upon, by sophistry, atheistical discourse, and chal- 
lenges to them to impugn the most scandalous theses. Des- 
borough, one of the most brutally ignorant men of the period, 
got himself nominated the head of a college, and lost no time 
in cutting down trees, and plundering plate. As for Harrison, 
he preached in full uniform in Saint Mary's Church, wearing 
his buff-coat, boots, and spurs, as if he were about to take the 
field for the fight at Armageddon. And it was hard to say, 
whether that seat of Learning, Religion, and Loyalty, as it 



WOODSTOCK 



is called by Clarendon, was more vexed by the rapine of 
Desborough, the cold scepticism of Bletson, or the frantic 
enthusiasm of the Fifth-Monarchy Champion. 

Ever and anon, soldiers, under pretence of relieving guard, 
or otherwise, went and came betwixt Woodstock and Oxford, 
and maintained, it may be supposed, a correspondence with 
Trusty Tomkins, who, though he chiefly resided in the town 
of Woodstock, visited the Lodge occasionally, and to whom, 
therefore, they doubtless trusted for information concerning 
the proceedings there. 

Indeed, this man Tomkins seemed by some secret means to 
have gained the confidence in part, if not in whole, of almost 
every one connected with these intrigues. All closeted him, 
all conversed with him in private ; those who had the means 
propitiated him with gifts, those who had not were liberal of 
promises. When he chanced to appear at Woodstock, which 
always seemed as it were by accident — if he passed through the 
hall, the knight was sure to ask him to take the foils, and was 
equally certain to be, after less or more resistance, victorious in 
the encounter ; so, in consideration of so many triumphs, the 
good Sir Henry almost forgave him the sins of rebellion and 
puritanism. Then, if his slow and formal step was heard in 
the passages approaching the gallery, Dr. RocheclifFe, though 
he never introduced him to his peculiar boudoir, was sure to 
meet Master Tomkins in some neutral apartment, and to en- 
gage him in long conversations, which apparently had great 
interest for both. 

Neither was the Independent's reception below stairs less 
gracious than above. Joceline failed not to welcome him with 
the most cordial frankness ; the pasty and the flagon were put 
in immediate requisition, and good cheer was the general word. 
The means for this, it may be observed, had grown more plenty 
at Woodstock since the arrival of Dr. Rochecliffe, who, in 
quality of agent for several royalists, had various sums of money 
at his disposal. By these funds it is likely that Trusty Tom- 
kins also derived his own full advantage. 

In his occasional indulgence in what he called a fleshly 
frailty (and for which he said he had a privilege), which was 
in truth an attachment to strong liquors, and that in no 
moderate degree, his language, at other times remarkably 
decorous and reserved, became wild and animated. He some- 
times talked with all the unction of an old debauchee of 
former exploits, such as deer-stealing, orchard-robbing, drunken 
gambols, and desperate affrays in which he had been engaged 
in the earlier part of his life, sung bacchanalian and amorous 
ditties, dwelt sometimes upon adventures which drove Phoebe 
Mayflower from the company, and penetrated even the deaf 



WOODSTOCK 



ears of Dame Jellicot, so as to make the buttery in which he 
held his carousals no proper place for the poor old woman. 

In the middle of these wild rants, Tomkins twice or thrice 
suddenly ran into religious topics, and spoke mysteriously, but 
with great animation, and a rich eloquence, on the happy and 
pre-eminent saints, who were saints, as he termed them, indeed 
— Men who had stormed the inner treasure-house of heaven, 
and possessed themselves of its choicest jewels. All other sects 
he treated with the utmost contempt, as merely quarrelling, as 
he expressed it, like hogs over a trough about husks and acorns ; 
under which derogatory terms he included alike the usual 
rites and ceremonies of public devotion, the ordinances of the 
established churches of Christianity, and the observances, nay, 
the forbearances, enjoined by every class of Christians. Scarcely 
hearing, and not at all understanding him, Joceline, who 
seemed his most frequent confidant on such occasions, generally 
led him back into some strain of rude mirth, or old recollection 
of follies before the Civil Wars, without caring about or endea- 
vouring to analyse the opinion of this saint of an evil fashion, 
but fully sensible of the protection which his presence afforded 
at Woodstock, and confident in the honest meaning of so free- 
spoken a fellow, to whom ale and brandy, when better liquor 
was not to be come by, seemed to be principal objects of life, 
and who drank a health to the King, or any one else, when- 
ever required, provided the cup in which he was to perform the 
libation were but a brimmer. 

These peculiar doctrines, which were entertained by a sect 
sometimes termed the Family of Love, but more commonly 
Ranters, had made some progress in times when such variety 
of religious opinions were prevalent, that men pushed the 
jarring heresies to the verge of absolute and most impious 
insanity. Secrecy had been enjoined on these frantic believers 
in a most blasphemous doctrine, by the fear of consequences, 
should they come to be generally announced ; and it was the 
care of Master Tomkins to conceal the spiritual freedom which 
he pretended to have acquired, from all whose resentment 
would have been stirred by his public avowal of it. This 
was not difficult; for their profession of faith permitted, nay, 
required, their occasional conformity with the sectaries or pro- 
fessors of any creed which chanced to be uppermost. 

Tomkins had accordingly the art to pass himself on Dr. 
Rochecliffe as still a zealous member of the Church of England, 
though serving under the enemy's colours, as a spy in their 
camp ; and as he had on several times given him true and 
valuable intelligence, this active intriguer was the more easily 
induced to believe his professions. 

Nevertheless, lest this person's occasional presence at the 



312 



WOODSTOCK 



Lodge, which there were perhaps no means to prevent without 
exciting suspicion, should infer danger to the King's person, 
Rochecliffe, whatever confidence he otherwise reposed in him, 
recommended that, if possible, the King should keep always 
out of his sight, and when accidentally discovered, that he 
should only appear in the character of Louis Kerneguy. Joseph 
Tomkins, he said, was, he really believed, Honest Joe ; but 
honesty was a horse which might be overburdened, and there 
was no use in leading our neighbour into temptation. 

It seemed as if Tomkins himself had acquiesced in this 
limitation of confidence exercised towards him, or that he 
wished to seem blinder than he really was to the presence of 
this stranger in the family. It occurred to Joceline, who was 
a very shrewd fellow, that once or twice, when by inevitable 
accident Tomkins had met Kerneguy, he seemed less interested 
in the circumstance than he would have expected from the 
man's disposition, which was naturally prying and inquisitive. 
"He asked no questions about the young stranger," said Joce- 
line — " God avert that he knows or suspects too much ! " But 
his suspicions were removed, when, in the course of their sub- 
sequent conversation, Joseph Tomkins mentioned the King's 
escape from Bristol as a thing positively certain, and named 
both the vessel in which, he said, he had gone off, and the 
master who commanded her, seeming so convinced of the truth 
of the report, that Joceline judged it impossible he could have 
the slightest suspicion of the reality. 

Yet, notwithstanding this persuasion, and the comradeship 
which had been established between them, the faithful under- 
keeper resolved to maintain a strict watch over his gossip 
Tomkins, and be in readiness to give the alarm should occa- 
sion arise. True, he thought, he had reason to believe that his 
said friend, notwithstanding his drunken and enthusiastic rants, 
was as trustworthy as he was esteemed by Dr. Rochecliffe ; yet 
still he was an adventurer, the outside and lining of whose 
cloak were of different colours, and a high reward, and pardon 
for past acts of malignancy, might tempt him once more to turn 
his tippet. For these reasons Joceline kept a strict though 
unostentatious watch over Trusty Tomkins. 

We have said, that the discreet seneschal was universally 
well received at Woodstock, whether in the borough or at the 
Lodge, and that even Joceline Joliffe was anxious to conceal 
any suspicions which he could not altogether repress, under a 
great show of cordial hospitality. There were, however, two 
individuals, who, for very different reasons, nourished personal 
dislike against the individual so generally acceptable. 

One was Nehemiah Holdenough, who remembered, with 
great bitterness of spirit, the Independent's violent intrusion 



PHCEBE MAYFLOWER 
Drawing by Miss Sharpe 



WOODSTOCK 313 

into his pulpit, and who ever spoke of him in private as a lying 
missionary, into whom Satan had put a spirit of delusion ; and 
preached, besides, a solemn sermon on the subject of the false 
prophet, out of whose mouth came frogs. The discourse was 
highly prized by the Mayor and most of the better class, who 
conceived that their minister had struck a heavy blow at the 
very root of Independency. On the other hand, those of the 
private spirit contended that Joseph Tomkins had made a 
successful and triumphant rally, in an exhortation on the even- 
ing of the same day, in which he proved, to the conviction of 
many handicraftsmen, that the passage in Jeremiah, "The 
prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their 
means," was directly applicable to the Presbyterian system of 
Church government. The clergyman despatched an account of 
his adversary's conduct to the Reverend Master Edwards, 
to be inserted in the next edition of Gangraena, as a pestilent 
heretic ; and Tomkins recommended the parson to his master, 
Desborough, as a good subject on whom to impose a round 
fine, for vexing the private spirit ; assuring him, at the same 
time, that though the minister might seem poor, yet if a few 
troopers were quartered on him till the fine was paid, every rich 
shopkeeper's wife in the borough would rob the till, rather 
than go without the mammon of unrighteousness with which to 
redeem their priest from sufferance ; holding, according to his 
expression, with Laban, "You have taken from me my gods, 
and what have I more ? " There was, of course, little cordiality 
between the polemical disputants, when religious debate took 
so worldly a turn. 

But Joe Tomkins was much more concerned at the evil 
opinion which seemed to be entertained against him, by one 
whose good graces he was greatly more desirous to obtain than 
those of Nehemiah Holdenough. This was no other than pretty 
Mistress Phcebe Mayflower, for whose conversion he had felt a 
strong vocation, ever since his lecture upon Shakspeare on their 
first meeting at the Lodge. He seemed desirous, however, to 
carry on this more serious work in private, and especially to 
conceal his labours from his friend Joceline Joliffe, lest, per- 
chance, he had been addicted to jealousy. But it was in vain 
that he plied the faithful damsel, sometimes with verses from 
the Canticles, sometimes with quotations from Green's Arcadia, 
or pithy passages from Venus and Adonis, and doctrines of a 
nature yet more abstruse, from the popular work entitled 
Aristotle's Masterpiece. Unto no wooing of his, sacred or 
profane, metaphysical or physical, would Phcebe Mayflower 
seriously incline. 

The maiden loved Joceline Joliffe, on the one hand ; and, on 
the other, if she disliked Joseph Tomkins when she first saw 



WOODSTOCK 



him, as a rebellious puritan, she had not been at all reconciled 
by finding reason to regard him as a hypocritical libertine. She 
hated him in both capacities — never endured his conversation 
when she could escape from it — and when obliged to remain, 
listened to him only because she knew he had been so deeply 
trusted, that to offend him might endanger the security of the 
family, in the service of which she had been born and bred up, 
and to whose interest she was devoted. For reasons somewhat 
similar, she did not suffer her dislike of the steward to become 
manifest before Joceline Joliffe, whose spirit, as a forester and 
a soldier, might have been likely to bring matters to an arbitra- 
ment, in which the coideau de chasse and quarterstaff of her 
favourite would have been too unequally matched with the long 
rapier and pistols which his dangerous rival always carried about 
his person. But it is difficult to blind jealousy when there is 
any cause of doubt; and perhaps the sharp watch maintained 
by Joceline on his comrade was prompted not only by his zeal 
for the King's safety, but by some vague suspicion that Tomkins 
was not ill-disposed to poach upon his own fair manor. 

Phoebe, in the meanwhile, like a prudent girl, sheltered her- 
self as much as possible by the presence of Goody Jellicot. 
Then, indeed, it is true the Independent, or whatever he was, 
used to follow her with his addresses to very little purpose ; for 
Phoebe seemed as deaf, through wilfulness, as the old matron 
by natural infirmity. This indifference highly incensed her new 
lover, and induced him anxiously to watch for a time and 
place in which he might plead his suit with an energy that 
should command attention. Fortune, that malicious goddess, 
who so often ruins us by granting the very object of our vows, 
did at length procure him such an opportunity as he had long 
coveted. 

It was about sunset, or shortly after, when Phoebe, upon 
whose activity much of the domestic arrangements depended, 
went as far as Fair Rosamond's spring to obtain water for the 
evening meal, or rather to gratify the prejudice of the old 
knight, who believed that celebrated fountain afforded the 
choicest supplies of the necessary element. Such was the 
respect in which he was held by his whole family, that to 
neglect any of his wishes that could be gratified, though with 
inconvenience to themselves, would, in their estimation, have 
been almost equal to a breach of religious duty. 

To fill the pitcher had, we know, been of late a troublesome 
task ; but Joceline's ingenuity had so far rendered it easy, by 
repairing rudely a part of the ruined front of the ancient 
fountain, that the water was collected, and trickling along a 
wooden spout, dropped from a height of about two feet. A 
damsel was thereby enabled to place her pitcher under the 



WOODSTOCK 315 

slowly dropping supply, and, without toil to herself, might wait 
till her vessel was filled. 

Phoebe Mayflower, on the evening we allude to, saw, for 
the first time, this little improvement ; and, justly considering 
it as a piece of gallantry of her silvan admirer, designed to save 
her the trouble of performing her task in a more inconvenient 
manner, she gratefully employed the minutes of ease which the 
contrivance procured her, in reflecting on the good-nature and 
ingenuity of the obliging engineer, and perhaps in thinking he 
might have done as wisely to have waited till she came to the 
fountain, that he might have secured personal thanks for the 
trouble he had taken. But then she knew he was detained 
in the buttery with that odious Tomkins, and rather than have 
seen the Independent along with him, she would have renounced 
the thought of meeting Joceline. 

As she was thus reflecting, Fortune was malicious enough to 
send Tomkins to the fountain, and without Joceline. When 
she saw his figure darken the path up which he came, an 
anxious reflection came over the poor maiden's breast, that she 
was alone, and within the verge of the forest, where in general 
persons were prohibited to come during the twilight, for dis- 
turbing the deer settling to their repose. She encouraged her- 
self, however, and resolved to show no sense of fear, although, 
as the steward approached, there was something in the man's 
look and eye no way calculated to allay her apprehensions. 

"The blessings of the evening upon you, my pretty maiden," 
he said. "I meet you even as the chief servant of Abraham, 
who was a steward like myself, met Rebecca, the daughter of 
Bethuel, the son of Milcah, at the well of the city of Nahor, in 
Mesopotamia. Shall I not, therefore, say to you, Set down thy 
pitcher that I may drink ? " 

"The pitcher is at your service, Master Tomkins," she 
replied, " and you may drink as much as you will ; but you 
have, I warrant, drunk better liquor, and that not long since." 

It was, indeed, obvious that the steward had arisen from a 
revel, for his features were somewhat flushed, though he had 
stopped far short of intoxication. But Phoebe's alarm at his 
first appearance was rather increased when she observed how 
he had been lately employed. 

" I do but use my privilege, my pretty Rebecca ; the earth 
is given to the saints, and the fulness thereof. They shall 
occupy and enjoy it, both the riches of the mine, and the 
treasures of the vine ; and they shall rejoice, and their hearts 
be merry within them. Thou hast yet to learn the privileges 
of the saints, my Rebecca." 

" My name is Phoebe," said the maiden, in order to sober 
the enthusiastic rapture which he either felt or affected. 



316 



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" Phoebe after the flesh," he said, " but Rebecca being 
spiritualised ; for art thou not a wandering and stray sheep ? — 
and am I not sent to fetch thee within the fold ? — Wherefore 
else was it said, Thou shalt find her seated by the well, in the 
wood which is called after the ancient harlot, Rosamond ? " 

You have found me sitting here sure enough," said Phcebe ; 
" but if you wish to keep me company, you must walk to the 
Lodge with me ; and you shall carry my pitcher for me, if you 
will be so kind. I will hear all the good things you have to 
say to me as we go along. But Sir Henry calls for his glass of 
water regularly before prayers." 

" What ! " exclaimed Tomkins, " hath the old man of bloody 
hand and perverse heart sent thee hither to do the work of a 
bondswoman ? Verily thou shalt return enfranchised ; and for 
the water thou hast drawn for him, it shall be poured forth, 
even as David caused to be poured forth the water of the well 
of Bethlehem." 

So saying, he emptied the water pitcher, in spite of Phcebe's 
exclamations and entreaties. He then replaced the vessel 
beneath the little conduit, and continued : — " Know that this 
shall be a token to thee. The filling of that pitcher shall 
be like the running of a sand-glass ; and if within the time 
which shall pass ere it rises to the brim thou shalt listen to 
the words which I shall say to thee, then it shall be well with 
thee, and thy place shall be high among those who, forsaking 
the instruction which is as milk for babes and sucklings, eat 
the strong food which nourishes manhood. But if the pitcher 
shall overbrim with water ere thy ear shall hear and under- 
stand, thou shalt then be given as a prey, and as a bondsmaiden, 
unto those who shall possess the fat and the fair of the earth." 

" You frighten me, Master Tomkins," said Phoebe, " though 
I am sure you do not mean to do so. I wonder how you dare 
speak words so like the good words in the Bible, when you 
know how you laughed at your own master, and all the rest 
of them — when you helped to play the hobgoblins at the 
Lodge." 

" Think'st thou then, thou simple fool, that in putting that 
deceit upon Harrison and the rest, I exceeded my privileges ? — 
Nay, verily. Listen to me, foolish girl. When in former days 
I lived the most wild, malignant rakehell in Oxfordshire, 
frequenting wakes and fairs, dancing around May-poles, and 
showing my lustihood at football and cudgel-playing — Yea, 
when I was called, in the language of the uncircumcised, 
Philip Hazeldine, and was one of the singers in the choir, and 
one of the ringers in the steeple, and served the priest yonder, 
by name Rochecliffe, I was not farther from the straight road 
than when, after long reading, I at length found one blind 



WOODSTOCK 317 

guide after another, all burners of bricks in Egypt. I left 
them one by one, the poor tool Harrison being the last ; and 
by my own unassisted strength I have struggled forward to 
the broad and blessed light, whereof thou too, Phoebe, shalt be 
partaker." 

"I thank you, Master Tomkins," said Phoebe, suppressing 
some fear under an appearance of indifference ; " but I shall 
have light enough to carry home my pitcher, would you but 
let me take it ; and that is all the want of light I shall have 
this evening." 

So saying, she stooped to take the pitcher from the fountain ; 
but he snatched hold of her by the arm, and prevented her 
from accomplishing her purpose. Phoebe, however, was the 
daughter of a bold forester, prompt at thoughts of self-defence ; 
and though she missed getting hold of the pitcher, she caught 
up instead a large pebble, which she kept concealed in her 
right hand. 

" Stand up, foolish maiden, and listen," said the Independent 
sternly ; ff and know, in one word, that sin, for which the spirit 
of man is punished with the vengeance of Heaven, lieth not 
in the corporal act, but in the thought of the sinner. Believe, 
lovely Phoebe, that to the pure all acts are pure, and that sin 
is in our thought, not in our actions — even as the radiance of 
the day is dark to a blind man, but seen and enjoyed by him 
whose eyes receive it. To him who is but a novice in the 
things of the spirit, much is enjoined, much is prohibited ; and 
he is fed with milk fit for babes, — for him are ordinances, pro- 
hibitions, and commands. But the saint is above these ordi- 
nances and restraints. — To him, as to the chosen child of the 
house, is given the pass-key to open all locks which withhold 
him from the enjoyment of his heart's desire. Into such 
pleasant paths will I guide thee, lovely Phoebe, as shall unite 
in joy, in innocent freedom, pleasures, which to the unprivileged 
are sinful and prohibited." 

" I really wish, Master Tomkins, you would let me go home," 
said Phoebe, not comprehending the nature of his doctrine, but 
disliking at once his words and his manner. He went on, 
however, with the accursed and blasphemous doctrines, which, 
in common with others of the pretended saints, he had adopted, 
after having long shifted from one sect to another, until he 
settled in the vile belief that sin, being of a character ex- 
clusively spiritual, only existed in the thoughts, and that the 
worst actions were permitted to those who had attained to the 
pitch of believing themselves above ordinance. "Thus, my 
Phoebe," he continued, endeavouring to draw her towards him, 
" I can offer thee more than ever was held out to woman since 
Adam first took his bride by the hand. It shall be for others 



318 WOODSTOCK 

to stand dry-lipped, doing penance, like papists, by abstinence, 
when the vessel of pleasure pours forth its delights. Dost thou 
love money ? — I have it, and can procure more — am at liberty 
to procure it on every hand, and by every means — the earth is 
mine and its fulness. Do you desire power? — which of these 
poor cheated commissioner-fellows' estates dost thou covet, I 
will work it out for thee ; for I deal with a mightier spirit 
than any of them. And it is not without warrant that I have 
aided the malignant RocheclifFe, and the clown JolifFe, to frighten 
and baffle them in the guise they did. Ask what thou wilt, 
Phoebe, I can give, or I can procure it for thee — Then enter 
with me into a life of delight in this world, which shall prove 
but an anticipation of the joys of Paradise hereafter ! " 

Again the fanatical voluptuary endeavoured to pull the poor 
girl towards him, while she, alarmed, but not scared out of her 
presence of mind, endeavoured, by fair entreaty, to prevail on 
him to release her. But his features, in themselves not marked, 
had acquired a frightful expression, and he exclaimed, " No, 
Phoebe — do not think to escape — thou art given to me as a 
captive — thou hast neglected the hour of grace, and it has 
glided past — See, the water trickles over thy pitcher, which 
was to be a sign between us — Therefore I will urge thee no 
more with words, of which thou art not worthy, but treat thee 
as a recusant of offered grace." 

"Master Tomkins/' said Phoebe, in an imploring tone, 
"consider, for God's sake, I am a fatherless child — do me no 
injury, it would be a shame to your strength and your manhood 
— I cannot understand your fine words — I will think on them 
till to-morrow." Then, in rising resentment, she added more 
vehemently — u I will not be used rudely — stand off, or I will 
do you a mischief." But, as he pressed upon her with a 
violence, of which the object could not be mistaken, and en- 
deavoured to secure her right hand, she exclaimed, "Take it 
then, with a wanion to you ! " — and struck him an almost 
stunning blow on the face with the pebble which she held 
ready for such an extremity. 

The fanatic let her go, and staggered backward, half stupe- 
fied; while Phoebe instantly betook herself to flight, screaming 
for help as she ran, but still grasping the victorious pebble. 
Irritated to frenzy by the severe blow which he had received, 
Tomkins pursued, with every black passion in his soul and in 
his face, mingled with fear lest his villainy should be dis- 
covered. He called on Phoebe loudly to stop, and had the 
brutality to menace her with one of his pistols if she continued 
to fly. Yet she slacked not her pace for his threats, and he 
must either have executed them, or seen her escape to carry 
the tale to the Lodge, had she not unhappily stumbled over 



WOODSTOCK 319 

the projecting root of a fir tree. But as he rushed upon his 
prey, rescue interposed in the person of Joceline JolhTe, with 
his quarterstaff on his shoulder. " How now ? what means 
this?" he said, stepping between Phoebe and her pursuer. 
Tomkins, already roused to fury, made no other answer than 
by discharging at Joceline the pistol which he held in his 
hand. The ball grazed the under-keeper's face, who, in requital 
of the assault, and saying, " Aha ! Let ash answer iron," 
applied his quarterstaff with so much force to the Indepen- 
dent's head, that lighting on the left temple, the blow proved 
almost instantly mortal. 

A few convulsive struggles were accompanied with these 
broken words, — "Joceline — I am gone — but I forgive thee — 
Doctor RocheclifFe — I wish I had minded more — Oh ! — the 
clergyman — the funeral-service — " As he uttered these words, 
indicative, it may be, of his return to a creed which, perhaps, 
he had never abjured so thoroughly as he had persuaded him- 
self, his voice was lost in a groan, which, rattling in the throat, 
seemed unable to find its way to the air. These were the last 
symptoms of life : the clenched hands presently relaxed — the 
closed eyes opened, and stared on the heavens a lifeless jelly — 
the limbs extended themselves and stiffened. The body, which 
was lately animated with life, was now a lump of senseless clay 
■ — the soul, dismissed from its earthly tenement in a moment 
so unhallowed, was gone before the judgment-seat. 

" Oh, what have you done ? — what have you done, Joceline ? " 
exclaimed Phcebe ; " you have killed the man ! " 

" Better than he should have killed me," answered Joceline ; 
" for he was none of the blinkers that miss their mark twice 
running. — And yet I am sorry for him. — Many a merry bout 
have we had together when he was wild Philip Hazeldine, and 
then he was bad enough ; but since he daubed over his vices 
with hypocrisy, he seems to have proved worse devil than ever." 

"Oh, Joceline, come away," said poor Phcebe, "and do not 
stand gazing on him thus ; " for the woodsman, resting on his 
fatal weapon, stood looking down on the corpse with the 
appearance of a man half stunned at the event. 

"This comes of the ale pitcher," she continued, in the true 
style of female consolation, " as I have often told yon — For 
Heaven's sake, come to the Lodge, and let us consult what is 
to be done." 

" Stay first, girl, and let me drag him out of the path ; we 
must not have him lie here in all men's sight — Will you not 
help me, wench ? " 

"I cannot, Joceline — I would not touch a lock on him for 
all Woodstock." 

"I must to this gear myself, then," said Joceline, who, a 



320 



WOODSTOCK 



soldier as well as a woodsman, still had great reluctance to the 
necessary task. Something in the face and broken words of 
the dying man had made a deep and terrific impression on 
nerves not easily shaken. He accomplished it, however, so far 
as to drag the late steward out of the open path, and bestow 
his body amongst the undergrowth of brambles and briers, so 
as not to be visible unless particularly looked after. He then 
returned to Phoebe, who had sat speechless all the while be- 
neath the tree over whose roots she had stumbled. 

" Come away, wench," he said, " come away to the Lodge, 
and let us study how this is to be answered for — the mishap of 
his being killed will strangely increase our danger. What had 
he sought of thee, wench, when you ran from him like a mad- 
woman ? — But I can guess — Phil was always a devil among 
the girls, and I think, as Doctor Rochecliffe says, that, since he 
turned saint, he took to himself seven devils worse than him- 
self. — Here is the very place where I saw him, with his sword 
in his hand raised against the old knight, and he a child of the 
parish — it was high treason at least — but, by my faith, he hath 
paid for it at last." 

"But, oh, Joceline," said Phoebe, "how could you take so 
wicked a man into your counsels, and join him in all his plots 
about scaring the Roundhead gentlemen ? " 

"Why, look thee, wench, I thought I knew him at the first 
meeting, especially when Bevis, who was bred here when he was 
a dog-leader, would not fly at him ; and when we made up our 
old acquaintance at the Lodge, I found he kept up a close 
correspondence with Doctor Rochecliffe, who was persuaded 
that he was a good King's man, and held consequently good 
intelligence with him. — The Doctor boasts to have learned 
much through his means ; I wish to Heaven he may not have 
been as communicative in turn." 

" Oh, Joceline," said the waiting-woman, " you should never 
have let him within the gate of the Lodge ! " 

" No more I would, if I had known how to keep him out ; 
but when he went so frankly into our scheme, and told me how 
I was to dress myself like Robinson the player, whose ghost 
haunted Harrison — I wish no ghost may haunt me ! — when he 
taught me how to bear myself to terrify his lawful master, what 
could I think, wench ? I only trust the Doctor has kept the 
great secret of all from his knowledge. — But here we are at 
the Lodge. Go to thy chamber, wench, and compose thyself. 
I must seek out Dr. Rochecliffe ; he is ever talking of his 
quick and ready invention. Here come times, I think, that 
will demand it all." 

Phoebe went to her chamber accordingly; but the strength 
arising from the pressure of danger giving way when the danger 



WOODSTOCK 321 

was removed, she quickly fell into a succession of hysterical fits, 
which required the constant attention of Dame Jellicot, and 
the less alarmed, but more judicious care of Mistress Alice, 
before they even abated in their rapid recurrence. 

The under-keeper carried his news to the politic Doctor, who 
was extremely disconcerted, alarmed, nay angry with Joceline, 
for having slain a person on whose communications he had 
accustomed himself to rely. Yet his looks declared his suspi- 
cion, whether his confidence had not been too rashly conferred 
— a suspicion which pressed him the more anxiously, that he 
was unwilling to avow it, as a derogation from his character for 
shrewdness, on which he valued himself. 

Dr. Rochecliffe's reliance, however, on the fidelity of Tomkins, 
had apparently good grounds. Before the Civil Wars, as may 
be partly collected from what has been already hinted at, 
Tomkins, under his true name of Hazeldine, had been under 
the protection of the Rector of Woodstock, occasionally acted 
as his clerk, was a distinguished member of his choir, and, 
being a handy and ingenious fellow, was employed in assisting 
the antiquarian researches of Dr. Rochecliffe through the interior 
of Woodstock. When he engaged in the opposite side in the 
Civil Wars, he still kept up his intelligence with the divine, to 
whom he had afforded what seemed valuable information from 
time to time. His assistance had latterly been eminently use- 
ful in aiding the Doctor, with the assistance of Joceline and 
Phoebe, in contriving and executing the various devices by 
which the Parliamentary Commissioners had been expelled 
from Woodstock. Indeed, his services in this respect had been 
thought worthy of no less a reward than a present of what plate 
remained at the Lodge, which had been promised to the Inde- 
pendent accordingly. The Doctor, therefore, while admitting 
he might be a bad man, regretted him as a useful one, whose 
death, if inquired after, was likely to bring additional danger on 
a house which danger already surrounded, and which contained a 
pledge so precious. 



CHAPTER XXX 

Cassio. — That thrust had been my enemy indeed, 
But that my coat is better than thou know'st. 

—Othello. 

On the dark October night succeeding the evening on which 
Tomkins was slain, Colonel Everard, besides his constant 
attendant Roger Wildrake, had Master Nehemiah Holdenough 
with him as a guest at supper. The devotions of the evening 



322 WOODSTOCK 

having been performed according to the Presbyterian fashion, 
a light entertainment, and a double quart of burnt claret, were 
placed before his friends at nine o'clock, an hour unusually late. 
Master Holdenough soon engaged himself in a polemical dis- 
course against Sectaries and Independents, without being aware 
that his eloquence was not very interesting to his principal 
hearer, whose ideas in the meanwhile wandered to Woodstock 
and all which it contained — the Prince, who lay concealed 
there — his uncle — above all, Alice Lee. As for Wildrake, after 
bestowing a mental curse both on Sectaries and Presbyterians, 
as being, in his opinion, never a barrel the better herring, he 
stretched out his limbs, and would probably have composed 
himself to rest, but that he as well as his patron had thoughts 
which murdered sleep. 

The party were waited upon by a little gipsy-looking boy, in 
an orange-tawny doublet, much decayed, and garnished with 
blue worsted lace. The rogue looked somewhat stinted in size, 
but active both in intelligence and in limb, as his black eyes 
seemed to promise by their vivacity. He was an attendant of 
Wildrake' s choice, who had conferred on him the nom de guerre 
of Spitfire, and had promised him promotion so soon as his 
young protege, Breakfast, was fit to succeed him in his present 
office. It need scarce be said that the menage was maintained 
entirely at the expense of Colonel Everard, who allowed Wild- 
rake to arrange the household very much according to his 
pleasure. The page did not omit, in offering the company 
wine from time to time, to accommodate Wildrake with about 
twice the number of opportunities of refreshing himself which 
he considered it necessary to afford to the Colonel or his 
reverend guest. 

While they were thus engaged,' the good divine lost in his 
own argument, and the hearers in their private thoughts, their 
attention was about half-past ten arrested by a knocking at the 
door of the house. To those who have anxious hearts, trifles 
give cause of alarm. 

Even a thing so simple as a knock at the door may have 
a character which excites apprehension. This was no quiet 
gentle tap, intimating a modest intruder ; no redoubled rattle, 
as the pompous annunciation of some vain person ; neither did 
it resemble the formal summons to formal business, nor the 
cheerful visit of some welcome friend. It was a single blow, 
solemn and stern, if not actually menacing in the sound. The 
door was opened by some of the persons of the house ; a heavy 
foot ascended the stair, a stout man entered the room, and 
drawing the cloak from his face, said, "Markham Everard, I 
greet thee in God's name." 

It was General Cromwell, 



WOODSTOCK 323 

Everard, surprised and taken at unawares, endeavoured in 
vain to find words to express his astonishment. A bustle 
occurred in receiving the General, assisting him to uncloak 
himself, and offering in dumb show the civilities of reception. 
The General cast his keen eye around the apartment, and 
fixing it first on the divine, addressed Everard as follows 

" A reverend man I see is with thee. Thou art not one of 
those, good Markham, who let the time unnoted and unim- 
proved pass away. Casting aside the things of this world — 
pressing forward to those of the next — it is by thus using 
our time in this poor seat of terrestrial sin and care, that we 

may, as it were But how is this ? " he continued, suddenly 

changing his tone, and speaking briefly, sharply, and anxiously ; 
" one hath left the room since I entered ? " 

Wildrake had, indeed, been absent for a minute or two, but 
had now returned, and stepped forward from a bay window, as 
if he had been out of sight only, not out of the apartment. 
"Not so, sir, I stood but in the background out of respect. 
Noble General, I hope all is well with the Estate, that your 
Excellency makes us so late a visit ? Would not your Excel- 
lency choose some " 

" Ah ! " said Oliver, looking sternly and fixedly at him — 
"Our trusty Go-between — our faithful confidant. — No, sir; at 
present I desire nothing more than a kind reception, which, 
methinks, my friend Markham Everard is in no hurry to 
give me." 

"You bring your own welcome, my lord," said Everard, 
compelling himself to speak. " I can only trust it was no bad 
news that made your Excellency a late traveller, and ask, 
like my follower, what refreshment I shall command for your 
accommodation." 

"The State is sound and healthy, Colonel Everard," said the 
General ; " and yet the less so, that many of its members, who 
have been hitherto workers together, and propounders of good 
counsel, and advancers of the public weal, have now waxed 
cold in their love and in their affection for the Good Cause, for 
which we should be ready, in our various degrees, to act and 
do so soon as we are called to act that whereunto we are ap- 
pointed, neither rashly nor over-slothfully, neither lukewarmly 
nor over-violently, but with such a frame and disposition in 
which zeal and charity may, as it were, meet and kiss each other 
in our streets. Howbeit, because we look back after we have put 
our hand to the plough, therefore is our force waxed dim." 

" Pardon me, sir," said Nehemiah Holdenough, who, listening 
with some impatience, began to guess in whose company he 
stood — " Pardon me, for unto this I have a warrant to speak." 

" Ah ! ah ! " said Cromwell. " Surely, most worthy sir, we 



324 



WOODSTOCK 



grieve the Spirit when we restrain those pourings forth, which 

like water from a rock " 

" Nay, therein I differ from you, sir," said Holdenough ; u for 
as there is the mouth to transmit the food, and the profit to 
digest what Heaven hath sent; so is the preacher ordained 
to teach and the people to hear ; the shepherd to gather the 
flock into the sheepfold, the sheep to profit by the care of the 
shepherd." 

" Ah ! my worthy sir," said Cromwell, with much unction, 
"methinks you verge upon the great mistake, which supposes 
that churches are tall large houses built by masons, and hearers 
are men — wealthy men, who pay tithes, the larger as well as 
the less ; and that the priests, men in black gowns or grey 
cloaks, who receive the same, are in guerdon the only distri- 
butors of Christian blessings; whereas, in my apprehension, 
there is more of Christian liberty in leaving it to the discretion 
of the hungry soul to seek his edification where it can be found, 
whether from the mouth of a lay teacher, who claimeth his 
warrant from Heaven alone, or at the dispensation of those who 
take ordination and degrees from synods and universities, at 
best but associations of poor sinful creatures like themselves." 

"You speak you know not what, sir," replied Holdenough 
impatiently. "Can light come out of darkness, sense out of 
ignorance, or knowledge of the mysteries of religion from 
such ignorant mediciners as give poisons instead of wholesome 
medicaments, and cram with filth the stomachs of such as 
seek to them for food ? " This, which the Presbyterian divine 
uttered rather warmly, the General answered with the utmost 
mildness. 

" Lack-a-day, lack-a-day ! a learned man, but intemperate ; 
over-zeal hath eaten him up. — A well-a-day, sir, you may talk 
of your regular gospel-meals, but a word spoken in season by 
one whose heart is with your heart, just perhaps when you are 
riding on to encounter an enemy, or are about to mount a 
breach, is to the poor spirit like a rasher on the coals, which 
the hungry shall find preferable to a great banquet at such 
times when the full soul loatheth the honeycomb. Neverthe- 
less, although I speak thus in my poor judgment, I would not 
put force on the conscience of any man, leaving to the learned 
to follow the learned, and the wise to be instructed by the wise, 
while poor simple wretched souls are not to be denied a drink 
from the stream which runneth by the way. — Ay, verily, it will be 
a comely sight in England when men shall go on as in a better 
world, bearing with each other's infirmities, joining in each 
other's comforts — Ay, truly, the rich drink out of silver flagons 
and goblets of silver, the poor out of paltry bowls of wood — 
and even so let it be, since they both drink the same element." 



WOODSTOCK 325 

Here an officer opened the door and looked in, to whom 
Cromwell, exchanging the canting drawl, in which it seemed 
he might have gone on interminably, for the short brief tone of 
action, called out, " Pearson, is he come ? " 

" No, sir," replied Pearson ; u we have inquired for him at 
the place you noted, and also at other haunts of his about the 
town." 

" The knave ! " said Cromwell, with bitter emphasis ; " can 
he have proved false ? — No, no, his interest is too deeply en- 
gaged. We shall find him by-and-by. — Hark thee hither." 

While this conversation was going forward, the reader must 
imagine the alarm of Everard. He was certain that the personal 
attendance of Cromwell must be on some most important ac- 
count, and he could not but strongly suspect that the General 
had some information respecting Charles's lurking-place. If 
taken, a renewal of the tragedy of the 30th of January was 
instantly to be apprehended, and the ruin of the whole family 
of Lee, with himself probably included, must be the necessary 
consequence. 

He looked eagerly for consolation at Wildrake, whose coun- 
tenance expressed much alarm, which he endeavoured to bear 
out with his usual look of confidence. But the weight within 
was too great; he shuffled with his feet, rolled his eyes, and 
twisted his hands, like an unassured witness before an acute 
and not to be deceived judge. 

Oliver, meanwhile, left his company not a minute's leisure to 
take counsel together. Even while his perplexed eloquence 
flowed on in a stream so mazy that no one could discover which 
way its course was tending, his sharp watchful eye rendered all 
attempts of Everard to hold communication with Wildrake, 
even by signs, altogether vain. Everard, indeed, looked for an 
instant at the window, then glanced at Wildrake, as if to hint 
there might be a possibility to escape that way. But the cavalier 
had replied with a disconsolate shake of the head, so slight as 
to be almost imperceptible. Everard, therefore, lost all hope, 
and the melancholy feeling of approaching and inevitable evil 
was only varied by anxiety concerning the shape and manner in 
which it was about to make its approach. 

But Wildrake had a spark of hope left. The very instant 
Cromwell entered he had got out of the room, and down to the 
door of the house. u Back — back ! " repeated by two armed 
sentinels, convinced him that, as his fears had anticipated, the 
General had come neither unattended nor unprepared. He 
turned on his heel, ran up stairs, and meeting on the landing- 
place the boy whom he called Spitfire, hurried him into the 
small apartment which he occupied as his own. Wildrake had 
been shooting that morning, and game lay on the table. He 



326 WOODSTOCK 

pulled a feather from a woodcock's wing, and saying hastily? 
" For thy life, Spitfire, mind my orders — I will put thee safe 
out at the window into the court — the yard wall is not high — 
and there will be no sentry there — Fly to the Lodge, as thou 
wouldst win heaven, and give this feather to Mistress Alice 
Lee, if possible — if not, to Joceline Joliffe — say I have won the 
wager of the young lady. Dost mark me, boy ? " 

The sharp-witted youth clapped his hand in his master's, and 
only replied, " Done, and done.' 

Wildrake opened the window, and, though the height was 
considerable, he contrived to let the boy down safely by hold- 
ing his cloak. A heap of straw on which Spitfire lighted 
rendered the descent perfectly safe, and Wildrake saw him 
scramble over the wall of the courtyard, at the angle which 
bore on a back lane ; and so rapidly was this accomplished, 
that the cavalier had just re-entered the room when, the bustle 
attending Cromwell's arrival subsiding, his own absence began 
to be noticed. 

He remained during Cromwell's lecture on the vanity of 
creeds, anxious in mind whether he might not have done better 
to send an explicit verbal message, since there was no time to 
write. But the chance of the boy being stopped, or becoming 
confused with feeling himself the messenger of a hurried and 
important communication, made him, on the whole, glad that 
he had preferred a more enigmatical way of conveying the 
intelligence. He had, therefore, the advantage of his patron, 
for he was conscious still of a spark of hope. 

Pearson had scarce shut the door, when Holdenough, as ready 
in arms against the future Dictator as he had been prompt to 
encounter the supposed phantoms and fiends of Woodstock, 
resumed his attack upon the schismatics, whom he undertook 
to prove to be at once soul-slayers, false brethren, and false 
messengers ; and was proceeding to allege texts in behalf of 
his proposition, when Cromwell, apparently tired of the discus- 
sion, and desirous to introduce a discourse more accordant with 
his real feelings, interrupted him, though very civilly, and took 
the discourse into his own hands. 

" Lack-a-day," he said, "the good man speaks truth, accord- 
ing to his knowledge and to his lights, — ay, bitter truths, and 
hard to be digested, while we see as men see, and not with the 
eyes of angels. — False messengers, said the reverend man ? — 
ay, truly, the world is full of such. You shall see them who 
will carry your secret message to the house of your mortal foe, 
and will say to him, f Lo ! my master is going forth with a 
small train by such and such desolate places ; be you speedy, 
therefore, that you may arise and slay him/ And another, who 
knoweth where the foe of your house, and enemy of your 



WOODSTOCK 327 

person, lies hidden, shall, instead of telling his master thereof, 
carry tidings to the enemy even where he lurketh, saying, 'Lo ! 
my master knoweth of your secret abode — up now, and fly, lest he 
come on thee like a lion on his prey.' — But shall this go without 
punishment ? " looking at Wildrake with a withering glance. 
" Now, as my soul liveth, and as He liveth who hath made me a 
ruler in Israel, such false messengers shall be knitted to gibbets 
on the wayside, and their right hands shall be nailed above 
their heads, in an extended position, as if pointing out to others 
the road from which they themselves have strayed ! " 

"Surely," said Master Holdenough, "it is right to cut off 
such offenders." 

"Thank ye, Mass- John," muttered Wildrake; "when did 
the Presbyterian fail to lend the devil a shove ? " 

" But, I say," continued Holdenough, " that the matter is 
estranged from our present purpose, for the false brethren of 
whom I spoke are " 

" Right, excellent sir, they be those of our own house," 
answered Cromwell ; " the good man is right once more. Ay, 
of whom can we now say that he is a true brother, although he 
has lain in the same womb with us? Although we have 
struggled in the same cause, ate at the same table, fought in 
the same battle, worshipped at the same throne, there shall be 
no truth in him. — Ah, Markham Everard, Markham Everard ! " 

He paused at this ejaculation ; and Everard, desirous at 
once of knowing how far he stood committed, replied, " Your 
Excellency seems to have something in your mind in which I 
am concerned. May I request you will speak it out, that I 
may know what I am accused of?" 

"Ah, Mark, Mark," replied the General, "there needeth no 
accuser speak when the still small voice speaks within us. Is 
there not moisture on thy brow, Mark Everard ? Is there not 
trouble in thine eye ? Is there not a failure in thy frame ? 
And who ever saw such things in noble and stout Markham 
Everard, whose brow was only moist after having worn the 
helmet for a summer's day ; whose hand only shook when it 
had wielded for hours the weighty falchion ? — But go to, man ! 
thou doubtest over much. Hast thou not been to me as a 
brother/ and shall I not forgive thee even the seventy-seventh 
time ? The knave hath tarried somewhere, who should have 
done by this time an office of much import. Take advantage 
of his absence, Mark ; it is a grace that God gives thee beyond 
expectance. I do not say, fall at my feet ; but speak to me as 
a friend to his friend." 

" I have never said anything to your Excellency that was in 
the least undeserving the title you have assigned to me," said 
Colonel Everard proudly. 



328 



WOODSTOCK 



" Nay, nay, Markham," answered Cromwell ; u I say not you 
have. But — but you ought to have remembered the message 
I sent you by that person" (pointing to Wildrake) ; "and you 
must reconcile it with your conscience, how, having such a 
message, guarded with such reasons, you could think yourself 
at liberty to expel my friends from Woodstock, being deter- 
mined to disappoint my object, whilst you availed yourself of 
the boon, on condition of which my warrant was issued." 

Everard was about to reply, when, to his astonishment, 
Wildrake stepped forward ; and with a voice and look very 
different from his ordinary manner, and approaching a good 
deal to real dignity of mind, said, boldly and calmly, " You are 
mistaken, Master Cromwell, and address yourself to the wrong 
party here." 

The speech was so sudden and intrepid that Cromwell 
stepped a pace back, and motioned with his right hand towards 
his weapon, as if he had expected that an address of a nature 
so unusually bold was to be followed by some act of violence. 
He instantly resumed his indifferent posture ; and, irritated at 
a smile which he observed on Wildrake's countenance, he said, 
with the dignity of one long accustomed to see all tremble before 
him, " This to me, fellow ! Know you to whom you speak ? " 

" Fellow ! " echoed Wildrake, whose reckless humour was now 
completely set afloat — " No fellow of yours, Master Oliver. I 
have known the day when Roger Wildrake of Squattlesea- 
mere, Lincoln, a handsome young gallant, with a good estate, 
would have been thought no fellow of the bankrupt brewer of 
Huntingdon." 

" Be silent ! " said Everard ; " be silent, Wildrake, if you love 
your life ! " 

" I care not a maravedi for my life," said Wildrake. " Zounds, 
if he dislikes what I say, let him take to his tools ! I know, 
after all, he hath good blood in his veins ! and I will indulge 
him with a turn in the court yonder, had he been ten times a 
brewer." 

" Such ribaldry, friend," said Oliver, " I treat with the con- 
tempt it deserves. But if thou hast anything to say touching 
the matter in question, speak out like a man, though thou 
look'st more like a beast." 

"All I have to say is," replied Wildrake, "that whereas 
you blame Everard for acting on your warrant, as you call it, 
I can tell you he knew not a word of the rascally conditions 
you talk of. I took care of that; and you may take the 
vengeance on me if you list." 

" Slave ! dare you tell this to me ? " said Cromwell, still 
needfully restraining his passion, which he felt was about to 
discharge itself upon an unworthy object. 



I 



WOODSTOCK 329 

"Ay, you will make every Englishman a slave, if you have 
1 your own way," said Wildrake, not a whit abashed ; — for the 
I awe which had formerly overcome him when alone with this 
I remarkable man, had vanished, now that they were engaged in 
an altercation before witnesses. — " But do your worst, Master 
Oliver ; I tell you beforehand, the bird has escaped you." 

" You dare not say so ! — Escaped ? — So ho ! Pearson ! tell 
the soldiers to mount instantly. — Thou art a lying fool ! — 
Escaped ? — Where, or from whence ? " 

"Ay, that is the question," said Wildrake; "for look you, 
sir — that men do go from hence is certain — but how they go, 

or to what quarter " 

Cromwell stood attentive, expecting some useful hint from 
the careless impetuosity of the cavalier, upon the route which 
the King might have taken. 

— "Or to what quarter, as I said before, why, your Excel- 
lency, Master Oliver, may e'en find that out yourself." 

As he uttered the last words he unsheathed his rapier, and 
made a full pass at the General's body. Had his sword met no 
other impediment than the buff jerkin, Cromwell's course had 
j ended on the spot. But fearful of such attempts, the General 
wore under his military dress a shirt of the finest mail, made 
J of rings of the best steel, and so light and flexible that it was 
little or no encumbrance to the motions of the wearer. It 
proved his safety on this occasion, for the rapier sprung in 
j shivers; while the owner, now held back by Everard and 
Holdenough, flung the hilt with passion on the ground, ex- 
claiming, " Be damned the hand that forged thee ! — To serve 
I me so long, and fail me when thy true service would have 
honoured us both for ever ! But no good could come of thee, 
since thou wert pointed, even in jest, at a learned divine of 
the Church of England." 

In the first instant of alarm, and perhaps suspecting Wildrake 
might be supported by others, Cromwell half drew from his 
1 bosom a concealed pistol, which he hastily returned, observ- 
ing that both Everard and the clergyman were withholding the 
cavalier from another attempt. 

Pearson and a soldier or two rushed in — " Secure that fellow," 
said the General, in the indifferent tone of one to whom immi- 
nent danger was too familiar to cause irritation — " Bind him — 
but not so hard, Pearson ; " — for the men, to show their zeal, 
were drawing their belts, which they used for want of cords, 
brutally tight round Wildrake's limbs. " He would have assassi- 
nated me, but I would reserve him for his fit doom." 

" Assassinated ! — I scorn your words, Master Oliver," said 
! Wildrake ; " I proffered you a fair duello." 

" Shall we shoot him in the street, for an example ? " said 



330 WOODSTOCK 

Pearson to Cromwell ; while Everard endeavoured to stop 
Wildrake from giving farther offence. 

" On your life harm him not ; but let him be kept in safe 
ward, and well looked after/' said Cromwell ; while the prisoner 
exclaimed to Everard, "I prithee let me alone — I am now 
neither thy follower, nor any man's, and I am as willing to die 
as ever I was to take a cup of liquor. — And hark ye, speaking 
of that, Master Oliver, you were once a jolly fellow, prithee let 
one of thy lobsters here advance yonder tankard to my lips, 
and your Excellency shall hear a toast, a song, and a — secret." 

" Unloose his head, and hand the debauched beast the tan- 
kard," said Oliver ; " while yet he exists, it were shame to refuse 
him the element he lives in." 

"Blessings on your head for once," said Wildrake, whose 
object in continuing this wild discourse was, if possible, to gain 
a little delay, when every moment was precious. "Thou hast 
brewed good ale, and that's warrant for a blessing. For my 
toast, and my song, here they go together — 

Son of a witch, 

May'st thou die in a ditch, 

With the butchers who back thy quarrels ; 
And rot above ground, 
While the world shall resound 

A welcome to Royal King Charles. 

And now for my secret, that you may not say I had your 
liquor for nothing — I fancy my song will scarce pass current 
for much — My secret is, Master Cromwell — that the bird is 
flown — and your red nose will be as white as your winding- 
sheet before you can smell out which way." 

" Pshaw, rascal," answered Cromwell contemptuously, " keep 
your scurrile jests for the gibbet foot." 

" I shall look on the gibbet more boldly," replied Wildrake, 
"than I have seen you look on the Royal Martyr's picture." 

This reproach touched Cromwell to the very quick. — "Vil- 
lain ! " he exclaimed ; " drag him hence, draw out a party, and 

But hold, not now — to prison with him — let him be close 

watched and gagged, if he attempts to speak to the sentinels — 
Nay, hold — I mean, put a bottle of brandy into his cell, and he 
will gag himself in his own way, I warrant you — When day 
comes, that men can see the example, he shall be gagged after 
my fashion." 

During the various breaks in his orders, the General was 
evidently getting command of his temper; and though he 
began in fury, he ended with the contemptuous sneer of one 
who overlooks the abusive language of an inferior. Something 
remained on his mind notwithstanding, for he continued stand- 



WOODSTOCK 331 

ing, as if fixed to the same spot in the apartment, his eyes bent 
on the ground, and with closed hand pressed against his lips, 
like a man who is musing deeply. Pearson, who was about to 
speak to him, drew back, and made a sign to those in the room 
to be silent. 

Master Holdenough did not mark, or, at least, did not obey 
it. Approaching the General, he said, in a respectful but firm 
tone, "Did I understand it to be your Excellency's purpose 
that this poor man shall die next morning ? " 

" Hah ! " exclaimed Cromwell, starting from his reverie, 
" what say'st thou ? " 

" I took leave to ask, if it was your will that this unhappy 
man should die to-morrow ? " 

" Whom saidst thou ? " demanded Cromwell : " Markham 
Everard — shall he die, saidst thou ? " 

"God forbid!" replied Holdenough, stepping back — "I 
asked whether this blinded creature, Wildrake, was to be so 
suddenly cut off?" 

" Ay, marry is he," said Cromwell, u , were the whole General 
Assembly of Divines at Westminster — the whole Sanhedrim 
of Presbytery— to offer bail for him." 

"If you will not think better of it, sir," said Holdenough, 
" at least give not the poor man the means of destroying his 
senses — Let me go to him as a divine, to watch with him, in 
case he may yet be admitted into the vineyard at the latest 
hour — yet brought into the sheepfold, though he has neglected 
the call of the pastor till time is well-nigh closed upon him." 

"For God's sake," said Everard, who had hitherto kept 
silence, because he knew Cromwell's temper on such occasions, 
" think better of what you do ! " 

" Is it for thee to teach me ? " replied Cromwell ; " think 
thou of thine own matters, and believe me it will require all 
thy wit. — And for you, reverend sir, I will have no father- 
confessors attend my prisoners — no tales out of school. If the 
fellow thirsts after ghostly comfort, as he is much more like to 
thirst after a quartern of brandy, there is Corporal Humgudgeon, 
who commands the corps de garde, will preach and pray as 
well as the best of ye. — But this delay is intolerable — Comes 
not this fellow yet ? " 

" No, sir," replied Pearson. " Had we not better go down 
to the Lodge ? The news of our coming hither may else get 
there before us." 

"True," said Cromwell, speaking aside to his officer, "but 
you know Tomkins warned us against doing so, alleging there 
were so many postern-doors, and sallyports, and concealed 
entrances in the old house, that it was like a rabbit-warren, 
and that an escape might be easily made under our very noses, 



332 



WOODSTOCK 



unless he were with us to point out all the ports which should 
be guarded. He hinted, too, that he might be delayed a few 
minutes after his time of appointment — but we have now 
waited half-an-hour." 

"Does your Excellency think Tomkins is certainly to be 
depended upon ? " said Pearson. 

" As far as his interest goes, unquestionably/' replied the 
General. "He has ever been the pump by which I have 
sucked the marrow out of many a plot, in special those of the 
conceited fool Rochecliffe, who is goose enough to believe that 
such a fellow as Tomkins would value anything beyond the 
offer of the best bidder. And yet it groweth late — I fear we 
must to the Lodge without him — Yet, all things well con- 
sidered, I will tarry here till midnight. — Ah ! Everard, thou 
mightest put this gear to rights if thou wilt ! Shall some 
foolish principle of fantastic punctilio have more weight with 
thee, man, than have the pacification and welfare of England ; 
the keeping of faith to thy friend and benefactor, and who 
will be yet more so, and the fortune and security of thy rela- 
tions ? Are these, I say, lighter in the balance than the cause 
of a worthless boy, who with his father and his father's 
house have troubled Israel for fifty years ? " 

" I do not understand your Excellency, nor at what service 
you point, which I can honestly render," replied Everard. 
" That which is dishonest I should be loth that you proposed." 

"Then this at least might suit your honesty, or scrupulous 
humour, call it which thou wilt," said Cromwell. "Thou 
knowest, surely, all the passages about Jezebel's palace down 
yonder ? — Let me know how they may be guarded against the 
escape of any from within." 

" I cannot pretend to aid you in this matter," said Everard ; 
" I know not all the entrances and posterns about Woodstock, 
and if I did, I am not free in conscience to communicate with 
you on this occasion." 

" We shall do without you, sir," replied Cromwell haughtily ; 
"and if aught is found which may criminate you, remember 
you have lost right to my protection." 

" I shall be sorry," said Everard, " to have lost your friend- 
ship, General; but I trust my quality as an Englishman may 
dispense with the necessity of protection from any man. I 
know no law which obliges me to be spy or informer, even 
if I were in the way of having opportunity to do service in 
either honourable capacity." 

"Well, sir," said Cromwell, "for all your privileges and 
qualities, I will make bold to take you down to the Lodge at 
Woodstock to-night, to inquire into affairs in which the State 
is concerned. — Come hither, Pearson." He took a paper from 



WOODSTOCK 



333 



his pocket, containing a rough sketch or ground-plan of Wood- 
stock Lodge, with the avenues leading to it. — "Look here," 
he said, f* we must move in two bodies on foot, and with all 
possible silence — thou must march to the rear of the old house 
of iniquity with twenty file of men, and dispose them around it 
the wisest thou canst. Take the reverend man there along 
with you. He must be secured at any rate, and may serve as 
a guide. I myself will occupy the front of the Lodge, and 
thus having stopt all the earths, thou wilt come to me for 
farther orders — silence and despatch is all. — But for the dog 
Tomkins, who broke appointment with me, he had need render 
a good excuse, or woe to his father's son ! — Reverend sir, be 
pleased to accompany that officer. — Colonel Everard, you are 
to follow me ; but first give your sword to Captain Pearson, 
and consider yourself as under arrest." 

Everard gave his sword to Pearson without any comment, 
and with the most anxious presage of evil followed the Re- 
publican General, in obedience to commands which it would 
have been useless to dispute. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

" Were my son William here but now, 

He wadna fail the pledge." 
Wi' that in at the door there ran 

A ghastly-looking page — 
w I saw them, master, Oh ! I saw, 

Beneath the thornie brae, 
Of black-maiFd warriors many a rank. 

* Revenge ! '-he cried, • and gae.'" 

—Henry Mackenzie. 

The little party at the Lodge were assembled at supper, at 
the early hour of eight o'clock. Sir Henry Lee, neglecting the 
food that was placed on the table, stood by a lamp on the 
chimney-piece, and read a letter with mournful attention. 

"Does my son write to you more particularly than to me, 
Doctor Rochecliffe ? " said the knight. " He only says here, 
that he will return probably this night; and that Master 
Kerneguy must be ready to set off with him instantly. What 
can this haste mean ? Have you heard of any new search 
after our suffering party ? I wish they would permit me to 
enjoy my son's company in quiet but for a day." 

"The quiet which depends on the wicked ceasing from 
troubling," said Dr. Rochecliffe, " is connected, not by days and 
hours, but by minutes. Their glut of blood at Worcester had 



334 



WOODSTOCK 



satiated them for a moment, but their appetite, I fancy, has 
revived." 

" You have news, then, to that purpose ? " said Sir Henry. 

" Your son," replied the Doctor, u wrote to me by the same 
messenger: he seldom fails to do so, being aware of what 
importance it is that I should know everything that passes. 
Means of escape are provided on the coast, and Master Kerneguy 
must be ready to start with your son the instant he appears." 

" It is strange," said the knight ; " for forty years I have 
dwelt in this house, man and boy, and the point only was how 
to make the day pass over our heads ; for if I did not scheme 
out some hunting match or hawking, or the like, I might have 
sat here on my arm-chair, as undisturbed as a sleeping dor- 
mouse, from one end of the year to the other, and now I am 
more like a hare on her form, that dare not sleep unless with 
her eyes open, and scuds off when the wind rustles among the 
fern." 

" It is strange," said Alice, looking at Dr. Rochecliffe, " that 
the roundhead steward has told you nothing of this. He is 
usually communicative enough of the motions of his party ; 
and I saw you close together this morning." 

" I must be closer with him this evening," said the Doctor 
gloomily ; " but he will not blab." 

" I wish you may not trust him too much," said Alice in 
reply. — "To me, that man's face, with all its shrewdness, 
evinces such a dark expression, that methinks I read treason 
in his very eye." 

" Be assured, that matter is looked to," answered the Doctor, 
in the same ominous tone as before. No one replied, and 
there was a chilling and anxious feeling of apprehension which 
seemed to sink down on the company at once, like those sensa- 
tions which make such constitutions as are particularly subject 
to the electrical influence, conscious of an approaching thunder- 
storm. 

The disguised Monarch, apprised that day to be prepared on 
short notice to quit his temporary asylum, felt his own share 
of the gloom which involved the little society. But he was the 
first also to shake it off, as what neither suited his character 
nor his situation. Gaiety was the leading distinction of the 
former, and presence of mind, not depression of spirits, was 
required by the latter. 

"We make the hour heavier," he said, "by being melan- 
choly about it. Had you not better join me, Mistress Alice, 
in Patrick Carey's jovial farewell ? — Ah, you do not know Pat 
Carey — a younger brother of Lord Falkland's ? " 

"A brother of the immortal Lord Falkland's, and write 
songs ! " said the Doctor. 



WOODSTOCK 335 

" Oh, Doctor, the Muses take tithe as well as the Church," 
said Charles, M and have their share in every family of distinc- 
tion. You do not know the words, Mistress Alice, but you can 
aid me, notwithstanding, in the burden at least — 

' Come, now that we're parting, and 'tis one to ten 
If the towers of sweet Woodstock I e'er see agen, 
Let us e'en have a frolic, and drink like tall men, 
While the goblet goes merrily round.' " * 

The song arose, but not with spirit. It was one of those 
efforts at forced mirth, by which, above all other modes of 
expressing it, the absence of real cheerfulness is most dis- 
tinctly intimated. Charles stopt the song, and upbraided the 
choristers. 

" You sing, my dear Mistress Alice, as if you were chanting 
one of the seven penitential psalms ; and you, good Doctor, as 
if you recited the funeral service." 

The Doctor rose hastily from the table, and turned to the 
window ; for the expression connected singularly with the task 
which he was that evening to discharge. Charles looked at 
him with some surprise ; for the peril in which he lived, made 
him watchful of the slightest motions of those around him — 
then turned to Sir Henry, and said, " My honoured host, can 
you tell any reason for this moody fit which has so strangely 
crept upon us all ? " 

" Not I, my dear Louis," replied the knight ; " I have no 
skill in these nice quillets of philosophy. I could as soon 
undertake to tell you the reason why Bevis turns round three 
times before he lies down. I can only say for myself, that if 
age and sorrow and uncertainty be enough to break a jovial 
spirit, or at least to bend it now and then, I have my share of 
them all ; so that I, for one, cannot say that I am sad merely 
because I am not merry. I have but too good cause for sad- 
ness. I would I saw my son, were it but for a minute." 

Fortune seemed for once disposed to gratify the old man ; 
for Albert Lee entered at that moment. He was dressed in a 
riding suit, and appeared to have travelled hard. He cast his 
eye hastily around as he entered. It rested for a second on 
that of the disguised Prince, and, satisfied with the glance 
which he received in lieu, he hastened, after the fashion of 
the olden day, to kneel down to his father, and request his 
blessing. 

" It is thine, my boy/' said the old man ; a tear springing 
to his eyes as he laid his hand on the long locks, which distin- 

* The original song of Carey bears Wykeham, instead of Woodstock, for 
the locality. The verses are full of the bacchanalian spirit of the time. 



336 WOODSTOCK 

guished the young cavalier's rank and principles, and which, 
usually combed and curled with some care, now hung wild 
and dishevelled about his shoulders. They remained an in- 
stant in this posture, when the old man suddenly started from 
it, as if ashamed of the emotion which he had expressed before 
so many witnesses, and passing the back of his hand hastily 
across his eyes, bid Albert get up and mind his supper, "since 
I dare say you have ridden fast and far since you last baited — 
and well send round a cup to his health, if Doctor RocheclifFe 
and the good company pleases — Joceline, thou knave, skink 
about — thou look'st as if thou hadst seen a ghost." 

"Joceline," said Alice, "is sick for sympathy — one of the 
stags ran at Phoebe Mayflower to-day, and she was fain to have 
Joceline's assistance to drive the creature off— the girl has been 
in fits since she came home." 

" Silly slut," said the old knight — " She a woodman's 
daughter ! — But, Joceline, if the deer gets dangerous, you 
must send a broad arrow through him." 

" It will not need, Sir Henry," said Joceline, speaking with 
great difficulty of utterance — "he is quiet enough now — he 
will not offend in that sort again." 

"See it be so," replied the knight; "remember Mistress 
Alice often walks in the Chase. And now, fill round, and fill 
too, a cup to thyself to over-red thy fear, as mad Will has it. 
Tush, man, Phoebe will do well enough — she only screamed 
and ran, that thou might'st have the pleasure to help her. 
Mind what thou dost, and do not go spilling the wine after 
that fashion. — Come, here is a health to our wanderer, who has 
come to us again." 

"None will pledge it more willingly than I," said the dis- 
guised Prince, unconsciously assuming an importance which the 
character he personated scarce warranted ; but Sir Henry, who 
had become fond of the supposed page, with all his peculiarities, 
imposed only a moderate rebuke upon his petulance. "Thou 
art a merry, good-humoured youth, Louis," he said, " but it is a 
world to see how the forwardness of the present generation 
hath gone beyond the gravity and reverence which in my youth 
was so regularly observed towards those of higher rank and 
station — I dared no more have given my own tongue the rein, 
when there was a doctor of divinity in company, than I would 
have dared to have spoken in church in service time." 

"True, sir," said Albert, hastily interfering; "but Master 
Kerneguy had the better right to speak at present, that I have 
been absent on his business as well as my own, have seen several 
of his friends, and bring him important intelligence." 

Charles was about to rise and beckon Albert aside, naturally 
impatient to know what news he had procured, or what scheme 



WOODSTOCK 337 

of safe escape was now decreed for him. But Dr. Rochecliffe 
twitched his cloak, as a hint to him to sit still, and not show 
any extraordinary motive for anxiety, since, in case of a sudden 
discovery of his real quality, the violence of Sir Henry Lee's 
feelings might have been likely to attract too much attention. 

Charles, therefore, only replied, as to the knight's stricture, 
that he had a particular title to be sudden and unceremonious 
in expressing his thanks to Colonel Lee — that gratitude was 
apt to be unmannerly — finally, that he was much obliged to 
Sir Henry for his admonition ; and that quit Woodstock when 
he would, " he was sure to leave it a better man than he came 
there." 

His speech was of course ostensibly directed towards the 
father ; but a glance at Alice assured her that she had her full 
share in the compliment. 

" I fear," he concluded, addressing Albert, " that you come 
to tell us our stay here must be very short." 

"A few hours only," said Albert — "just enough for needful 
rest for ourselves and our horses. I have procured two which 
are good and tried. But Doctor Rochecliffe broke faith with 
me. I expected to have met some one down at Joceline's hut, 
where I left the horses ; and finding no person, I was delayed 
an hour in littering them down myself, that they might be ready 
for to-morrow's work — for we must be off before day." 

"I — I — intended to have sent Tomkins — but — but " 

hesitated the Doctor, " I " 

"The Roundheaded rascal was drunk, or out of the way, I 
presume," said Albert. " I am glad of it — you may easily trust 
him too far." 

"Hitherto he has been faithful," said the Doctor, "and I 
scarce think he will fail me now. But Joceline will go down 
and have the horses in readiness in the morning." 

Joceline's countenance was usually that of alacrity itself on 
a case extraordinary. Now, however, he seemed to hesitate. 

" You will go with me a little way, Doctor ? " he said, as he 
edged himself closely to Rochecliffe. 

"How? puppy, fool, and blockhead," said the knight, 
"wouldst thou ask Doctor Rochecliffe to bear thee company 
at this hour ? — Out, hound ! — get down to the kennel yonder 
instantly, or I will break the knave's pate of thee." 

Joceline looked with an eye of agony at the divine, as if 
entreating him to interfere in his behalf; but just as he was 
about to speak, a most melancholy howling arose at the hall- 
door, and a dog was heard scratching for admittance. 

"What ails Bevis next?" said the old knight. "I think 
this must be All-Fools' Day, and that everything around me is 
going mad ! " 

Y 



338 WOODSTOCK 

The same sound startled Albert and Charles from a private 
conference in which they had engaged, and Albert ran to the 
hall-door to examine personally into the cause of the noise. 

" It is no alarm/' said the old knight to Kerneguy, " for in 
such cases the dog's bark is short, sharp, and furious. These 
long howls are said to be ominous. It was even so that Be vis's 
grandsire bayed the whole livelong night on which my poor 
father died. If it comes now as a presage, God send it regard 
the old and useless not the young, and those who may yet 
serve King and country ! " 

The dog had pushed passed Colonel Lee, who stood a little 
while at the hall-door to listen if there were anything stirring 
without, while Bevis advanced into the room where the com- 
pany were assembled, bearing something in his mouth, and 
exhibiting, in an unusual degree, that sense of duty and interest 
which a dog seems to show when he thinks he has the charge of 
something important. He entered, therefore, drooping his long 
tail, slouching his head and ears, and walking with the stately 
yet melancholy dignity of a war-horse at his master's funeral. 
In this manner he paced through the room, went straight up 
to Joceline, who had been regarding him with astonishment, 
and uttering a short and melancholy howl, laid at his feet the 
object which he bore in his mouth. Joceline stooped, and took 
from the floor a man's glove, of the fashion worn by the troopers, 
having something like the old-fashioned gauntlet projections of 
thick leather arising from the wrist, which go half-way up to 
the elbow, and secure the arm against a cut with a sword. But 
Joceline had no sooner looked at what in itself was so common 
an object, than he dropped it from his hand, staggered backward, 
uttered a groan, and nearly fell to the ground. 

"Now, the coward's curse be upon thee for an idiot!" said 
the knight, who had picked up the glove, and was looking at 
it — "thou shouldst be sent back to school, and flogged till the 
craven's blood was switched out of thee — What dost thou look 
at but a glove, thou base poltroon, and a very dirty glove, too ? 
Stay, here is writing — Joseph Tomkins ? Why, that is the 
Roundheaded fellow — I wish he hath not come to some mischief, 
for this is not dirt on the cheveron, but blood. Bevis may have 
bit the fellow, and yet the dog seemed to love him well too, or 
the stag may have hurt him. Out, Joceline, instantly, and see 
where he is — wind your bugle." 

" I cannot go," said Joliffe, ff unless — " and again he looked 
piteously at Dr. Rochecliffe, who saw no time was to be lost in 
appeasing the ranger's terrors, as his ministry was most needful 
in the present circumstances. — "Get spade and mattock," he 
whispered to him, "and a dark lantern, and meet me in the 
Wilderness." 



WOODSTOCK 339 

Joceline left the room ; and the Doctor, before following 

! him, had a few words of explanation with Colonel Lee. His 
own spirit, far from being dismayed on the occasion, rather rose 

I higher, like one whose natural element was intrigue and danger. 
" Here hath been wild work," he said, " since you parted. 
Tomkins was rude to the wench Phcebe — Joceline and he had 
a brawl together, and Tomkins is lying dead in the thicket, not 
far from Rosamond's Well. It will be necessary that Joceline 
and I go directly to bury the body ; for besides that some one 
might stumble upon it, and raise an alarm, this fellow Joceline 
will never be fit for any active purpose till it is under ground. 
Though as stout as a lion, the under-keeper has his own weak 
side, and is more afraid of a dead body than a living one. 
When do you propose to start to-morrow ? " 

"By daybreak, or earlier," said Colonel Lee; "but we will 
meet again. A vessel is provided, and I have relays in more 
places than one — we go off from the coast of Sussex ; and 

i I am to get a letter at , acquainting me precisely with 

] the spot." 

"Wherefore not go off instantly ?" said the Doctor. 
"The horses would fail us," replied Albert; "they have been 
! hard ridden to-day." 

"Adieu," said Rochecliffe, " I must to my task — Do you take 
rest and repose for yours. To conceal a slaughtered body, and 
convey on the same night a king from danger and captivity, 
j are two feats which have fallen to few folks save myself ; but 
j let me not, while putting on my harness, boast myself as if I 
| were taking it off after a victory." So saying, he left the apart- 
I ment, and muffling himself in his cloak, went out into what 
I was called the Wilderness. 

The weather was a raw frost. The mist lay in partial wreaths 
I upon the lower grounds ; but the night, considering that the 
heavenly bodies were in a great measure hidden by the haze, 
I was not extremely dark. Dr. Rochecliffe could not, however, 
i distinguish the under-keeper until he had hemmed once or 
I twice, when Joceline answered the signal by showing a glimpse 
of light from the dark lantern which he carried. Guided by 
this intimation of his presence, the divine found him leaning 
against a buttress which had once supported a terrace, now 
ruinous. He had a pickaxe and shovel, together with a deer's 
hide hanging over his shoulder. 

" What do you want with the hide, Joceline," said Dr. 
Rochecliffe, "that you lumber it about with you on such an 
errand ? " 

"Why, look you, Doctor," he answered, "it is as well to tell 
you all about it. The man and I — he there — you know whom 
1 mean — had many years since a quarrel about this deer. For 



340 WOODSTOCK 

though we were great friends, and Philip was sometimes allowed 
by my master's permission to help me in mine office, yet I knew 
for all that, Philip Hazeldine was sometimes a trespasser. The 
deer-stealers were very bold at that time, it being just before 
the breaking out of the war, when men were becoming unsettled. 
And so it chanced, that one day, in the Chase, I found two 
fellows, with their faces blacked and shirts over their clothes, 
carrying as prime a buck between them as any was in the park. 
I was upon them in the instant — one escaped, but I got hold of 
the other fellow, and who should it prove to be but trusty Phil 
Hazeldine ! Well, I don't know whether it was right or wrong, 
but he was my old friend and pot-companion, and I took his 
word for amendment in future ; and he helped me to hang up 
the deer on a tree, and I came back with a horse to carry him 
to the Lodge, and tell the knight the story, all but Phil's name. 
But the rogues had been too clever for me ; for they had flayed 
and dressed the deer, and quartered him, and carried him off,, 
and. left the hide and horns, with a chime, saying — 

' The haunch to thee, 
The breast to me, 

The hide and the horns for the keeper's fee.' 

And this I knew for one of Phil's mad pranks, that he would 
play in those days with any lad in the country. But I was so 
nettled that I made the deer's hide be curried and dressed by a 
tanner, and swore that it should be his winding-sheet or mine ; 
and though I had long repented my rash oath, yet now, Doctor, 
you see what it has come to — though I forgot it, the devil 
did not." 

" It was a very wrong thing to make a vow so sinful," said 
Rochecliffe ; " but it would have been greatly worse had you 
endeavoured to keep it. Therefore, I bid you cheer up," said 
the good divine ; " for in this unhappy case, I could not have 
wished, after what I have heard from Phoebe and yourself, that 
you should have kept your hand still, though I may regret that 
the blow has proved fatal. Nevertheless, thou hast done even 
that which was done by the great and inspired legislator, when 
he beheld an Egyptian tyrannising over a Hebrew, saving that, 
in the case present, it was a female, when, says the Septuagint, 
Percussum Egyptium abscondit sabulo ; the meaning whereof I 
will explain to you another time. Wherefore, I exhort you 
not to grieve beyond measure ; for although this circumstance 
is unhappy in time and place, yet, from what Phoebe hath 
informed me of yonder wretch's opinions, it is much to be 
regretted that his brains had not been beaten out in his cradle, 
rather than that he had grown up to be one of those Grindle- 
stonians, or Muggletonians, in whom is the perfection of every 



WOODSTOCK 341 

I foul and blasphemous heresy, united with such a universal 
I practice of hypocritical assentation as would deceive their 
I master, even Satan himself." 

"Nevertheless, sir," said the forester, "I hope you will 
bestow some of the service of the Church on this poor man, 
I as it was his last wish, naming you, sir, at the same time ; and 
i unless this were done, I should scarce dare to walk out in the 
dark again for my whole life." 

" Thou art a silly fellow ; but if,'' continued the Doctor, " he 
named me as he departed, and desired the last rites of the 
Church, there was, it may be, a turning from evil and a seeking 
to good even in his last moments ; and if Heaven granted him 
grace to form a prayer so fitting, wherefore should man refuse 
i it? All I fear is the briefness of time." 

" Nay, your reverence may cut the service somewhat short," 
■ said Joceline ; " assuredly he does not deserve the whole of it ; 

only if something were not to be done, I believe I should flee 
I the country. They were his last words ; and methinks he sent 
[| Bevis with his glove to put me in mind of them." 

" Out, fool ! Do you think," said the Doctor, a dead men 
J send gauntlets to the living, like knights in a romance ; or, if 
if so, would they choose dogs to carry their challenges ? I tell 
I thee, fool, the cause was natural enough. Bevis, questing 
I about, found the body, and brought the glove to you to inti- 
I mate where it was lying, and to require assistance ; for such 
I is the high instinct of these animals towards one in peril." 

" Nay, if you think so, Doctor," said Joceline — " and, doubt- 
less, I must say, Bevis took an interest in the man — if indeed 
I it was not something worse in the shape of Bevis, for methought 
his eyes looked wild and fiery, as if he would have spoken." 

As he talked thus, Joceline rather hung back, and, in doing 
so, displeased the Doctor, who exclaimed, " Come along, thou 
lazy laggard. Art thou a soldier, and a brave one, and so much 
j afraid of a dead man ? Thou hast killed men in battle and in 
j chase, I warrant thee." 

"Ay, but their backs were to me," said Joceline. "I never 
saw one of them cast back his head, and glare at me as yonder 
fellow did, his eye retaining a glance of hatred, mixed with 
terror and reproach, till it became fixed like a jelly. And were 
you not with me, and my master's concerns, and something else, 
I very deeply at stake, I promise you I would not again look at 
I him for all Woodstock." 

"You must, though," said the Doctor, suddenly pausing, 
"for here is the place where he lies. Come hither deep into 
the copse ; take care of stumbling — Here is a place just fitting, 
and we will draw the briers over the grave afterwards." 

As the Doctor thus issued his directions, he assisted also in 



342 



WOODSTOCK 



the execution of them ; and while his attendant laboured to 
dig a shallow and misshapen grave, a task which the state of 
the soil, perplexed with roots, and hardened by the influence of 
the frost, rendered very difficult, the divine read a few passages 
out of the funeral service, partly in order to appease the super- 
stitious terrors of Joceline, and partly because he held it matter 
of conscience not to deny the Church's rites to one who had 
requested their aid in extremity. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

Case ye, case ye, — on with your vizards. 

—Henry IV. 

The company whom we had left in Victor Lee's parlour were 
about to separate for the night, and had risen to take a formal 
leave of each other, when a tap was heard at the hall-door, j 
Albert, the vidette of the party, hastened to open it, enjoin- ; 
ing, as he left the room, the rest to remain quiet, until he had j 
ascertained the cause of the knocking. When he gained the j 
portal, he called to know who was there, and what they wanted j 
at so late an hour. 

a It is only me," answered a treble voice. 

" And what is your name, my little fellow ? " said Albert. 

" Spitfire, sir," replied the voice without. 

" Spitfire ? " said Albert. 

" Yes, sir," replied the voice ; " all the world calls me so, j 
and Colonel Everard himself. But my name is Spittal for all 
that." 

u Colonel Everard ! arrive you from him ? " demanded young I 
Lee. 

" No, sir ; I come, sir, from Roger Wildrake, esquire, of 
Squattlesea-mere, if it like you," said the boy; "and I have 
brought a token to Mistress Lee, which I am to give into her 
own hands, if you would but open the door, sir, and let me in — 
but I can do nothing with a three-inch board between us." 

" It is some freak of that drunken rakehell," said Albert, in j 
a low voice, to his sister, who had crept out after him on tiptoe, j 

" Yet, let us not be hasty in concluding so," said the young 
lady ; "at this moment the least trifle may be of consequence. — 
What token has Master Wildrake sent me, my little boy ? " 

" Nay, nothing very valuable neither," replied the boy ; " but | 
he was so anxious you should get it, that he put me out of 
window as one would chuck out a kitten, that I might not be 
stopped by the soldiers." 



WOODSTOCK 



343 



" Hear you ? " said Alice to her brother ; " undo the gate, 
for God's sake." 

Her brother, to whom her feelings of suspicion were now 
sufficiently communicated, opened the gate in haste, and ad- 
mitted the boy, whose appearance, not much dissimilar to that 
of a skinned rabbit in a livery, or a monkey at a fair, would 
at another time have furnished them with amusement. The 
urchin messenger entered the hall, making several odd bows 
and conges, and delivered the woodcock's feather with much 
ceremony to the young lady, assuring her it was the prize she 
had won upon a wager about hawking. 

" I prithee, my little man," said Albert, " was your master 
drunk or sober, when he sent thee all this way with a feather 
at this time of night ? " 

" With reverence, sir," said the boy, " he was what he calls 
sober, and what I would call concerned in liquor for any other 
person." 

" Curse on the drunken coxcomb ! " said Albert. — " There is 
a tester for thee, boy, and tell thy master to break his jests on 
suitable persons, and at fitting times." 

" Stay yet a minute," exclaimed Alice ; te we must not go 
too fast — this craves wary walking." 

" A feather," said Albert ; " all this work about a feather ! 
Why, Doctor Rochecliffe, who can suck intelligence out of every 
trifle as a magpie would suck an egg, could make nothing of 
this." 

" Let us try what we can do without him then," said Alice. 
Then addressing herself to the boy, — u So there are strangers 
at your master's ? " 

"At Colonel Everard's, madam, which is the same thing," 
said Spitfire. 

" And what manner of strangers," said Alice ; " guests, I 
suppose ? " 

"Ay, mistress," said the boy, "a sort of guests that make 
themselves welcome wherever they come, if they meet not a 
welcome from their landlord — soldiers, madam." 

"The men that have long been lying at Woodstock," said 
Albert. 

" No, sir," said Spitfire, " new-comers, with gallant buff-coats 
and steel breastplates ; and their commander — your honour 
and your ladyship never saw such a man — at least I am sure 
Bill Spitfire never did." 

" Was he tall or short ? " said Albert, now much alarmed. 

" Neither one nor other," said the boy ; " stout made, with 
slouching shoulders ; a nose large, and a face one would not 
like to say No to. He had several officers with him. I saw him 
but for a moment, but I shall never forget him while I live." 



344 



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" You are right/' said Albert Lee to his sister, pulling her to 
one side — " quite right — the Archfiend himself is upon us ! " 

"And the feather/' said Alice, whom fear had rendered 
apprehensive of slight, tokens, " means flight — and a woodcock 
is a bird of passage." 

" You have hit it/' said her brother ; " but the time has 
taken us cruelly short. Give the boy a trifle more — nothing 
that can excite suspicion, and dismiss him. I must summon 
Rochecliffe and Joceline." 

He went accordingly, but, unable to find those he sought, he 
returned with hasty steps to the parlour, where, in his character 
of Louis, the page was exerting himself to detain the old knight, 
who, while laughing at the tales he told him, was anxious to 
go to see what was passing in the hall. 

" What is the matter, Albert ? " said the old man ; " who 
calls at the Lodge at so undue an hour, and wherefore is the 
hall-door opened to them ? I will not have my rules, and the 
regulations laid down for keeping this house, broken through, 
because I am old and poor. Why answer you not ? why keep 
a chattering with Louis Kerneguy, and neither of you all the 
while minding what I say? — Daughter Alice, have you sense 
and civility enough to tell me, what or who it is that is ad- 
mitted here contrary to my general orders ? " 

" No one, sir," replied Alice ; " a boy brought a message, 
which I fear is an alarming one." 

" There is only fear, sir," said Albert, stepping forward, " that 
whereas we thought to have stayed with you till to-morrow, we 
must now take farewell of you to-night." 

" Not so, brother," said Alice, " you must stay and aid the 
defence here — if you and Master Kerneguy are both missed, 
the pursuit will be instant, and probably successful ; but if you 
stay, the hiding-places about this house will take some time to 
search. You can change coats with Kerneguy too." 

" Right, noble wench," said Albert ; " most excellent — yes — 
Louis, I remain as Kerneguy, you fly as young Master Lee." 

"I cannot see the justice of that," said Charles. 

" Nor I neither," said the knight, interfering. " Men come 
and go, lay schemes, and alter them, in my house, without 
deigning to consult me ! And who is Master Kerneguy, or 
what is he to me, that my son must stay and take the chance 
of mischief, and this your Scotch page is to escape in his 
dress ? I will have no such contrivance carried into effect, 
though it were the finest cobweb that was ever woven in 
Doctor Rochecliffe's brains. — I wish you no ill, Louis ; thou 
art a lively boy ; but I have been somewhat too lightly treated 
in this, man." 

fi I am fully of your opinion, Sir Henry," replied the person 



WOODSTOCK 



345 



whom he addressed. "You have been, indeed, repaid for your 
hospitality by want of that confidence, which could never have 
been so justly reposed. But the moment is come, when I must 
say, in a word, I am that unfortunate Charles Stewart, whose 
lot it has been to become the cause of ruin to his best friends, 
and whose present residence in your family threatens to bring 
destruction to you, and all around you." 

" Master Louis Kerneguy," said the knight very angrily, " I 
will teach you to choose the subjects of your mirth better 
when you address them to me; and, moreover, very little pro- 
vocation would make me desire to have an ounce or two of 
that malapert blood from you." 

" Be still, sir, for God's sake ! " said Albert to his father. 
"This is indeed the King; and such is the danger of his 
person, that every moment we waste may bring round a fatal 
catastrophe." 

" Good God ! " said the father, clasping his hands together, 
and about to drop on his knees, "has my earnest wish been 
accomplished ! and is it in such a manner as to make me pray 
it had never taken place ! " 

He then attempted to bend his knee to the King — kissed 
his hand, while large tears trickled from his eyes — then said, 
" Pardon, my Lord — your Majesty, I mean — permit me to sit 
in your presence but one instant till my blood beats more 
freely, and then " 

Charles raised his ancient and faithful subject from the 
ground ; and even in that moment of fear, and anxiety, and 
danger, insisted on leading him to his seat, upon which he 
sunk in apparent exhaustion, his head drooping upon his long 
white beard, and big unconscious tears mingling with its silver 
hairs. Alice and Albert remained with the King, arguing and 
urging his instant departure. 

" The horses are at the under-keeper's hut," said Albert, " and 
the relays only eighteen or twenty miles off. If the horses can 
but carry you so far " 

" Will you not rather," interrupted Alice, " trust to the con- 
cealments of this place, so numerous and so well tried — Roche- 
cliffe's apartments, and the yet farther places of secrecy ? " 

" Alas ! " said Albert, " I know them only by name. My 
father was sworn to confide them to but one man, and he had 
chosen Rochecliffe." 

"I prefer taking the field to any hiding-hole in England," 
said the King. " Could I but find my way to this hut where 
the horses are, I would try what arguments whip and spur 
could use to get them to the rendezvous, where I am to meet 
Sir Thomas Acland and fresh cattle. Come with me, Colonel 
Lee, and let us run for it. The Roundheads have beat us in 



346 



WOODSTOCK 



battle ; but if it come to a walk or a race, I think I can show 
which has the best mettle." 

" But then/' said Albert, " we lose all the time which may 
otherwise be gained by the defence of this house — leaving none 
here but my poor father, incapable from his state of doing 
anything; and you will be instantly pursued by fresh horses, 
while ours are unfit for the road. Oh, where is the villain 
Joceline ! " 

" What can have become of Doctor RocheclifFe ? " said Alice ; 
"he that is so ready with advice ; — where can they be gone ? 
Oh, if my father could but rouse himself ! " 

" Your father is roused," said Sir Henry, rising and stepping 
up to them with all the energy of full manhood in his coun- 
tenance and motions — " I did but gather my thoughts — for when 
did they fail a Lee when his King needed counsel or aid ? " He 
then began to speak, with the ready and distinct utterance of a 
general at the head of an army, ordering every motion for attack 
and defence — unmoved himself, and his own energy compelling 
obedience, and that cheerful obedience, from all who heard him. 
"Daughter," he said, "beat up Dame Jellicot — Let Phcebe rise 
if she were dying, and secure doors and windows." 

" That hath been done regularly since — we have been thus 
far honoured," said his daughter, looking at the King — "yet, 
let them go through the chambers once more." And Alice 
retired to give the orders, and presently returned. 

The old knight proceeded, in the same decided tone of 
promptitude and despatch — " Which is your first stage ? " 

"Gray's — Rothebury, by Henley, where Sir Thomas Acland 
and young Knolles are to have horses in readiness," said Albert ; 
" but how to get there with our weary cattle ! " 

"Trust me for that," said the knight; and proceeding with 
the same tone of authority — "Your Majesty must instantly to 
Joceline's lodge," he said ; " there are your horses and your 
means of flight. The secret places of this house, well managed, 
will keep the rebel dogs in play two or three hours good — 
Rochecliffe is, I fear, kidnapped, and his Independent hath 
betrayed him — Would I had judged the villain better ! I 
would have struck him through at one of our trials of fence, 
with an unbated weapon, as Will says. — But for your guide 
when on horseback, half a bowshot from Joceline's hut is that 
of old Martin the verdurer ; he is a score of years older than I, 
but as fresh as an old oak — beat up his quarters, and let him 
ride with you for death and life. He will guide you to your 
relay, for no fox that ever earthed in the Chase knows the 
country so well for seven leagues around." 

" Excellent, my dearest father, excellent," said Albert ; " 1 
had forgot Martin the verdurer." 



WOODSTOCK 



347 



"Young men forget all," answered the knight. — "Alas, that 
the limbs should fail, when the head which can best direct 
them — is come perhaps to its wisest ! " 

" But the tired horses," said the King — " could we not get 
fresh cattle ? " 

" Impossible at this time of night," answered Sir Henry ; 
"but tired horses may do much with care and looking to." 
He went hastily to the cabinet which stood in one of the oriel 
windows, and searched for something in the drawers, pulling 
out one after another. 

"We lose time, father," said Albert, afraid that the intel- 
ligence and energy which the old man displayed had been but 
a temporary flash of the lamp, which was about to relapse into 
evening twilight. 

" Go to, sir boy," said his father sharply ; " is it for thee to 
tax me in this presence ! — Know, that were the whole Round- 
heads that are out of hell in present assemblage round Wood- 
stock, I could send away the Royal Hope of England by a way 
that the wisest of them could never guess. — Alice, my love, 
ask no questions, but speed to the kitchen, and fetch a slice or 
two of beef, or better of venison ; cut them long, and thin, 
d'ye mark me " 

"This is wandering of the mind," said Albert apart to the 
King. " We do him wrong, and your Majesty harm, to listen 
to him." 

" I think otherwise," said Alice, " and I know my father better 
than you." So saying, she left the room, to fulfil her father's 
orders. 

" I think so, too," said Charles — " in Scotland the Presby- 
terian ministers, when thundering in their pulpits on my own 
sins and those of my house, took the freedom to call me to my 
face Jeroboam, or Rehoboam, or some such name, for following 
the advice of young counsellors — Oddsfish, I will take that of 
the gray beard for once, for never saw I more sharpness and 
decision than in the countenance of that noble old man." 

By this time Sir Henry had found what he was seeking. 
"In this tin box," he said, "are six balls prepared of the most 
cordial spices, mixed with medicaments of the choicest and 
most invigorating quality. Given from hour to hour, wrapt in 
a covering of good beef or venison, a horse of spirit will not 
flag for five hours, at the speed of fifteen miles an hour ; and, 
please God, the fourth of the time places your Majesty in 
safety — what remains may be useful on some future occasion. 
Martin knows how to administer them ; and Albert's weary 
cattle shall be ready, if walked gently for ten minutes, in 
running to devour the way, as old Will says — nay, waste not 
time in speech, your Majesty does me but too much honour in 



348 



WOODSTOCK 



using what is your own. — Now, see if the coast is clear, Albert, 
and let his Majesty set off instantly — We will play our parts 
but ill, if any take the chase after him for these two hours that 
are between night and day — Change dresses, as you proposed, 
in yonder sleeping apartment — something may be made of 
that too." 

" But, good Sir Henry," said the King, "your zeal overlooks 
a principal point. I have, indeed, come from the under-keeper's 
hut you mention to this place, but it was by daylight, and under 
guidance — I shall never find my way thither in utter darkness, 
and without a guide — I fear you must let the Colonel go with 
me ; and I entreat and command, you will put yourself to no 
trouble or risk to defend the house — only make what delay you 
can in showing its secret recesses." 

" Rely on me, my royal and liege Sovereign," said Sir Henry ; 
" but Albert must remain here, and Alice shall guide your 
Majesty to Joceline's hut in his stead." 

" Alice ! " said Charles, stepping back in surprise — " why, it is 

dark night — and — and — and " He glanced his eye towards 

Alice, who had by this time returned to the apartment, and 
saw doubt and apprehension in her look ; an intimation, that 
the reserve under which he had placed his disposition for 
gallantry, since the morning of the proposed duel, had not 
altogether effaced the recollection of his previous conduct. He 
hastened to put a strong negative upon a proposal which ap- 
peared so much to embarrass her. " It is impossible for me, 
indeed, Sir Henry, to use Alice's services — I must walk as if 
bloodhounds were at my heels." 

"Alice shall trip it," said the knight, "with any wench in 
Oxfordshire ; and what would your Majesty's best speed avail, 
if you knew not the way to go ? " 

"Nay, nay, Sir Henry," continued the King, "the night is 
too dark — we stay too long — I will find it myself." 

" Lose no time in exchanging your dress with Albert," said 
Sir Henry — " leave me to take care of the rest." 

Charles, still inclined to expostulate, withdrew, however, into 
the apartment where young Lee and he were to exchange 
clothes ; while Sir Henry said to his daughter, " Get thee a 
cloak, wench, and put on thy thickest shoes. Thou might'st 
have ridden Pixie, but he is something spirited, and thou art 
a timid horsewoman, and ever wert so — the only weakness I 
have known of thee." 

" But, my father," said Alice, fixing her eyes very earnestly 
on Sir Henry's face, " must I really go along with the King ? 
might not Phoebe, or Dame Jellicot, go with us ? " 

" No — no — no," answered Sir Henry ; " Phcebe, the silly slut, 
has, as you well know, been in fits to-night, and I take it, such 



WOODSTOCK 349 

a walk as you must take is no charm for hysterics — Dame 
Jellicot hobbles as slow as a broken-winded mare — besides, her 
deafness, were there occasion to speak to her — No — no — you 
shall go alone and entitle yourself to have it written on your 
tomb, ' Here lies she who saved the King ! ' — And, hark you, 
do not think of returning to-night, but stay at the verdurer's 
with his niece — the Park and Chase will shortly be filled with 
our enemies, and whatever chances here you will learn early 
enough in the morning." 

" And what is it I may then learn ? " said Alice — u Alas, 
who can tell ? — Oh, dearest father, let me stay and share your 
fate ! I will pull off the timorous woman, and fight for the 
King, if it be necessary. — But — I cannot think of becoming 
his only attendant in the dark night, and through a road so 
lonely." 

" How ! " said the knight, raising his voice ; u do you bring 
ceremonious and silly scruples forward, when the King's safety, 
nay, his life, is at stake ! By this mark of loyalty," stroking his 
grey beard as he spoke, " could I think thou wert other than 
becomes a daughter of the house of Lee, I would " 

At this moment the King and Albert interrupted him by 
entering the apartment, having exchanged dresses, and, from 
their stature, bearing some resemblance to each other, though 
Charles was evidently a plain, and Lee a handsome young man. 
Their complexions were different ; but the difference could not 
be immediately noticed, Albert having adopted a black peruque, 
and darkened his eyebrows. 

Albert Lee walked out to the front of the mansion, to give 
one turn around the Lodge, in order to discover in what 
direction any enemies might be approaching, that they might 
judge of the road which it was safest for the royal fugitive to 
adopt. Meanwhile the King, who was first in entering the 
apartment, had heard a part of the angry answer which the old 
knight made to his daughter, and was at no loss to guess the 
subject of his resentment. He walked up to him with the 
dignity which he perfectly knew to assume when he chose it. 

" Sir Henry," he said, " it is our pleasure, nay, our command, 
that you forbear all exertion of paternal authority in this 
matter. Mistress Alice, I am sure, must have good and strong 
reasons for what she wishes ; and I should never pardon myself 
were she placed in an unpleasant situation on my account. I 
am too well acquainted with woods and wildernesses to fear 
losing my way among my native oaks of Woodstock." 

"Your Majesty shall not incur the danger," said Alice, her 
temporary hesitation entirely removed by the calm, clear, and 
candid manner in which Charles uttered these last words. 

You shall run no risk that I can prevent ; and the unhappy 



35© WOODSTOCK 

chances of the times in which I have lived have from experi- 
ence made the forest as well known to me by night as by day. 
So, if you scorn not my company, let us away instantly." 

"If your company is given with goodwill, I accept it with 
gratitude," replied the monarch. 

"Willingly," she said, "most willingly. Let me be one of 
the first to show that zeal and that confidence, which I trust 
all England will one day emulously display in behalf of your 
Majesty." 

She uttered these words with an alacrity of spirit, and made 
the trifling change of habit with a speed and dexterity which 
showed that all her fears were gone, and that her heart was 
entirely in the mission on which her father had despatched her. 

"All is safe around," said Albert Lee, showing himself; "you 
may take which passage you will — the most private is the best." 

Charles went gracefully up to Sir Henry Lee ere his departure, 
and took him by the hand. — "I am too proud to make pro- 
fessions," he said, "which I may be too poor ever to realise. 
But while Charles Stewart lives, he lives the obliged and in- 
debted debtor of Sir Henry Lee." 

" Say not so, please your Majesty, say not so," exclaimed the 
old man, struggling with the hysterical sobs which rose to his 
throat. "He who might claim all, cannot become indebted by 
accepting some small part." 

" Farewell, good friend, farewell ! " said the King ; " think of 
me as a son, a brother to Albert and to Alice, who are, I see, 
already impatient. Give me a father's blessing, and let me 
be gone." 

"The God, through whom kings reign, bless your Majesty," 
said Sir Henry, kneeling and turning his reverend face and 
clasped hands up to heaven — "The Lord of Hosts bless you, 
and save your Majesty from your present dangers, and bring 
you in His own good time to the safe possession of the crown 
that is your due ! " 

Charles received his blessing like that of a father, and Alice 
and he departed on their journey. 

As they left the apartment, the old knight let his hands sink 
gently as he concluded this fervent ejaculation, his head sinking 
at the same time. His son dared not disturb his meditation, 
yet feared the strength of his feelings might overcome that of 
his constitution, and that he might fall into a swoon. At length 
he ventured to approach and gradually touch him. The old 
knight started to his feet, and was at once the same alert, active- 
minded, forecasting director, which he had shown himself a 
little before. 

"You are right, boy," he said, "we must be up and doing. 
They lie, the Roundheaded traitors, that call him dissolute and 



WOODSTOCK 



351 



worthless ! He hath feelings worthy the son of the blessed 
Martyr. You saw, even in the extremity of danger, he would 
have perilled his safety rather than take Alice's guidance when 
the silly wench seemed in doubt about going. Profligacy is 
intensely selfish, and thinks not of the feelings of others. But 
hast thou drawn bolt and bar after them ? I vow I scarce saw 
when they left the hall." 

"I let them out at the little postern," said the Colonel; 
"and when I returned, I was afraid I had found you ill." 

" Joy — joy, only joy, Albert — I cannot allow a thought of 
doubt to cross my breast. God will not desert the descendant 
of an hundred kings — the rightful heir will not be given up to 
the ruffians. There was a tear in his eye as he took leave of 
me — I am sure of it. Wouldst not die for him, boy ? " 

"If I lay my life down for him to-night," said Albert, " I 
would only regret it, because I should not hear of his escape 
to-morrow." 

"Well, let us to this gear," said the knight; "think'st 
thou know'st enough of his manner, clad as thou art in his 
dress, to induce the women to believe thee to be the page 
Kerneguy ? " 

" Umph," replied Albert, " it is not easy to bear out a per- 
sonification of the King, when women are in the case. But 
there is only a very little light below, and I can try." 

"Do so instantly," said his father ; "the knaves will be here 
presently." 

Albert accordingly left the apartment, while the knight con- 
tinued — " If the women be actually persuaded that Kerneguy 
be still here, it will add strength to my plot — the beagles will 
open on a false scent, and the royal stag be safe in cover ere 
they regain the slot of him. Then to draw them on from 
hiding-place to hiding-place ! Why, the east will be grey 
before they have sought the half of them ! — Yes, I will play at 
bob-cherry with them, hold the bait to their nose, which they 
are never to gorge upon ! I will drag a trail for them which 
will take them some time to puzzle out. — But at what cost do 
I do this ? " continued the old knight, interrupting his own 
joyous soliloquy — " Oh, Absalom, Absalom, my son ! my son ! 
— But let him go ; he can but die as his fathers have died ; 
and in the cause for which they lived. But he comes — Hush ! 
— Albert, hast thou succeeded ? hast thou taken royalty upon 
thee so as to pass current ? " 

" I have, sir," replied Albert ; " the women will swear that 
Louis Kerneguy was in the house this very last minute." 

"Right, for they are good and faithful creatures," said the 
knight, " and would swear what was for his Majesty's safety at 
any rate ; yet they will do it with more nature and effect, if 



352 WOODSTOCK 




they believe they are swearing truth — How didst thou impress 
the deceit upon them ? " 

" By a trifling adoption of the royal manner, sir, not worth 
mentioning." 

" Out, rogue ! " replied the knight. " I fear the King's char- 
acter will suffer under your mummery." 

" Umph," said Albert, muttering what he dared not utter 
aloud — " were I to follow the example close up, I know whose 
character would be in the greatest danger." 

"Well, now we must adjust the defence of the outworks, the 
signals, &c, betwixt us both, and the best way to baffle the 
enemy for the longest time possible." He then again had 
recourse to the secret drawers of his cabinet, and pulled out 
a piece of parchment, on which was a plan. "This," said he, 
" is a scheme of the citadel, as I call it, which may hold out 
long enough after you have been forced to evacuate the places 
of retreat you are already acquainted with. The ranger was 
always sworn to keep this plan secret, save from one person 
only, in case of sudden death. — Let us sit down and study it 
together." 

They accordingly adjusted their measures in a manner which 
will better show itself from what afterwards took place, than 
were we to state the various schemes which they proposed, and 
provisions made against events that did not arrive. 

At length young Lee, armed and provided with some food 
and liquor, took leave of his father, and went and shut himself 
up in Victor Lee's apartment, from which was an opening to 
the labyrinth of private apartments, or hiding-places, that had 
served the associates so well in the fantastic tricks which they 
had played off at the expense of the Commissioners of the 
Commonwealth. 

"I trust," said Sir Henry, sitting down by his desk, after 
having taken a tender farewell of his son, " that Rochecliffe 
has not blabbed out the secret of the plot to yonder fellow 
Tomkins, who was not unlikely to prate of it out of school. — 
But here am I seated — perhaps for the last time, with my 
Bible on the one hand, and old Will on the other, prepared, 
thank God, to die as I have lived. — I marvel they come not 
yet," he said, after waiting for some time — " I always thought 
the devil had a smarter spur to give his agents, when they 
were upon his own special service." 



WOODSTOCK 



353 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

But see, his face is black, and full of blood ; 

His eyeballs farther out than when he lived, 

Staring full ghastly, like a strangled man ; 

His hair uprear'd — his nostrils stretch 'd with struggling ; 

His hands abroad display 'd, as one who grasp'd 

And tugg'd for life, and was by strength subdued. 

—Henry VI. Part 1. 

Had those whose unpleasant visit Sir Henry expected come 
straight to the Lodge, instead of staying three hours at Wood- 
stock, they would have secured their prey. But the Familist, 
partly to prevent the King's escape, partly to render himself of 
more importance in the affair, had represented the party at the 
Lodge as being constantly on the alert, and had therefore incul- 
cated upon Cromwell the necessity of his remaining quiet until 
he (Tomkins) should appear to give him notice that the household 
were retired to rest. On this condition he undertook, not only 
to discover the apartment in which the unfortunate Charles 
slept, but, if possible, to find some mode of fastening the door 
on the outside, so as to render flight impossible. He had also 
promised to secure the key of a postern, by which the soldiers 
might be admitted into the house without exciting alarm. 
Nay, the matter might, by means of his local knowledge, be 
managed, as he represented it, with such security, that he 
would undertake to place his Excellency, or whomsoever he 
might appoint for the service, by the side of Charles Stewart's 
bed, ere he had slept off the last night's claret. Above all, he 
had stated, that, from the style of the old house, there were 
many passages and posterns which must be carefully guarded 
before the least alarm was caught by those within, otherwise 
the success of the whole enterprise might be endangered. He 
had therefore besought Cromwell to wait for him at the village, 
if he found him not there on his arrival ; and assured him that 
the marching and countermarching of soldiers was at present 
so common, that even if any news were carried to the Lodge 
that fresh troops had arrived in the borough, so ordinary a 
circumstance would not give them the least alarm. He recom- 
mended that the soldiers chosen for this service should be such 
as could be depended upon — no fainters in spirit — none who 
turn back from Mount Gilead for fear of the Amalekites, but 
men of war, accustomed to strike with the sword, and to need 
no second blow. Finally, he represented that it would be wisely 
done if the General should put Pearson, or any other officer 
whom he could completely trust, into the command of the 

z 



354 



WOODSTOCK 



detachment, and keep his own person, if he should think it 
proper to attend, secret even from the soldiers. 

All this man's counsels Cromwell had punctually followed. 
He had travelled in the van of this detachment of one hundred 
picked soldiers, whom he had selected for the service, men of 
dauntless resolution, bred in a thousand dangers, and who were 
steeled against all feelings of hesitation and compassion, by the 
deep and gloomy fanaticism which was their chief principle of 
action — men to whom, as their General, and no less as the 
chief among the Elect, the commands of Oliver were like a 
commission from the Deity. 

Great and deep was the General's mortification at the unex- 
pected absence of the personage on whose agency he so con- 
fidently reckoned, and many conjectures he formed as to the 
cause of such mysterious conduct. Sometimes he thought 
Tomkins had been overcome by liquor, a frailty to which Crom- 
well knew him to be addicted ; and when he held this opinion, 
he discharged his wrath in maledictions, which, of a different 
kind from the wild oaths and curses of the cavaliers, had yet in 
them as much blasphemy, and more determined malevolence. 
At other times he thought some unexpected alarm, or perhaps 
some drunken cavalier revel, had caused the family of Wood- 
stock Lodge to make later hours than usual. To this conjec- 
ture, which appeared the most probable of any, his mind often 
recurred ; and it was the hope that Tomkins would still appear 
at the rendezvous, which induced him to remain at the borough, 
anxious to receive communication from his emissary, and afraid 
of endangering the success of the enterprise by any premature 
exertion on his own part. 

In the meantime, Cromwell, finding it no longer possible to 
conceal his personal presence, disposed of everything so as to 
be ready at a minute's notice. Half his soldiers he caused 
to dismount, and had the horses put into quarters ; the other 
half were directed to keep their horses saddled, and them- 
selves ready to mount at a moment's notice. The men were 
brought into the house by turns, and had some refreshment, 
leaving a sufficient guard on the horses, which was changed 
from time to time. 

Thus Cromwell waited with no little uncertainty, often cast- 
ing an anxious eye upon Colonel Everard, who, he suspected, 
could, if he chose it, well supply the place of his absent 
confidant. Everard endured this calmly, with unaltered coun- 
tenance, and brow neither ruffled nor dejected. 

Midnight at length tolled, and it became necessary to take 
some decisive step. Tomkins might have been treacherous; 
or, a suspicion which approached more near to the reality, his 
intrigue might have been discovered, and he himself murdered 



WOODSTOCK 



355 



or kidnapped by the vengeful royalists. In a word, if any use 
was to be made of the chance which fortune afforded of securing 
the most formidable claimant of the supreme power, which he 
already aimed at, no farther time was to be lost. He at length 
gave orders to Pearson to get the men under arms ; he directed 
him concerning the mode of forming them, and that they 
should march with the utmost possible silence ; or as it was 
given out in the orders, "Even as Gideon marched in silence 
when he went down against the camp of the Midianites, with 
only Phurah his servant. Perad venture," continued this strange 
document, ff we too may learn of what yonder Midianites have 
dreamed." 

A single patrol, followed by a corporal and five steady, ex- 
perienced soldiers, formed the advanced guard of the party ; 
then followed the main body. A rear-guard of ten men guarded 
Everard and the minister. Cromwell required the attendance 
of the former, as it might be necessary to examine him, or con- 
front him with others ; and he carried Master Holdenough with 
him, because he might escape if left behind, and perhaps raise 
some tumult in the village. The Presbyterians, though they 
not only concurred with, but led the way in the civil war, were 
at its conclusion highly dissatisfied with the ascendency of the 
military sectaries, and not to be trusted as cordial agents in 
anything where their interest was concerned. The infantry 
being disposed of as we have noticed, marched off from the 
left of their line, Cromwell and Pearson, both on foot, keeping 
at the head of the centre, or main body of the detachment. 
They were all armed with petronels, short guns similar to the 
modern carabine, and like them, used by horsemen. They 
marched in the most profound silence and with the utmost 
regularity, the whole body moving like one man. 

About one hundred yards behind the rearmost of the dis- 
mounted party, came the troopers who remained on horseback : 
and it seemed as if even the irrational animals were sensible 
to Cromwell's orders, for the horses did not neigh, and even 
appeared to place their feet on the earth cautiously, and with 
less noise than usual. 

Their leader, full of anxious thoughts, never spoke, save to 
enforce by whispers his caution respecting silence ; while the 
men, surprised and delighted to find themselves under the 
command of their renowned General, and destined, doubtless, 
for some secret service of high import, used the utmost pre- 
caution in attending to his reiterated orders. 

They marched down the street of the little borough in the 
order we have mentioned. Few of the townsmen were abroad ; 
and one or two, who had protracted the orgies of the evening 
to that unusual hour, were too happy to escape the notice of 



356 WOODSTOCK 

a strong party of soldiers, who often acted in the character of 
police, to inquire about their purpose for being under arms so 
late, or the route which they were pursuing. 

The external gate of the Chase had, ever since the party 
had arrived at Woodstock, been strictly guarded by three file 
of troopers, to cut off all communication between the Lodge 
and the town. Spitfire, Wildrake's emissary, who had often 
been a-bird-nesting, or on similar mischievous excursions in 
the forest, had evaded these men's vigilance by climbing over 
a breach with which he was well acquainted, in a different part 
of the wall. 

Between this party and the advanced guard of Cromwell's 
detachment a whispered challenge was exchanged, according 
to the rules of discipline. The infantry entered the Park, and 
were followed by the cavalry, who were directed to avoid the 
hard road, and ride as much as possible upon the turf which 
bordered on the avenue. Here, too, an additional precaution 
was used, a file or two of foot-soldiers being detached to search 
the woods on either hand, and make prisoner, or, in the event 
of resistance, put to death, any whom they might find lurking 
there, under what pretence soever. 

Meanwhile, the weather began to show itself as propitious 
to Cromwell as he had found most incidents in the course of 
his successful career. The grey mist, which had hitherto ob- 
scured everything, and rendered marching in the wood embar- 
rassing and difficult, had now given way to the moon, which, 
after many efforts, at length forced her way through the 
vapour, and hung her dim dull cresset in the heavens, which 
she enlightened, as the dying lamp of an anchorite does the 
cell in which he reposes. The party were in sight of the front 
of the palace, when Holdenough whispered to Everard, as they 
walked near each other — "See ye not, yonder flutters the 
mysterious light in the turret of the incontinent Rosamond ? 
This night will try whether the devil of the Sectaries or the 
devil of the Malignants shall prove the stronger. Oh, sing 
jubilee, for the kingdom of Satan is divided against itself ! " 

Here the divine was interrupted by a non-commissioned 
officer, who came hastily, yet with noiseless steps, to say, in a 
low stern whisper — "Silence, prisoner in the rear — silence on 
pain of death." 

A moment afterwards the whole party stopped their march, 
the word halt being passed from one to another, and instantly 
obeyed. 

The cause of this interruption was the hasty return of one of 
the flanking party to the main body, bringing news to Crom- 
well that they had seen a light in the wood at some distance 
on the left. 



WOODSTOCK 357 

" What can it be ? " said Cromwell, his low stern voice, even 
in a whisper, making itself distinctly heard. "Does it move, 
or is it stationary ? " 

"So far as we can judge, it moveth not," answered the 
trooper. 

"Strange — there is no cottage near the spot where it is 
seen." 

" So please your Excellency, it may be a device of Sathan," 
said Corporal Humgudgeon, snuffling through his nose ; " he 
is mighty powerful in these parts of late." 

H So please your idiocy, thou art an ass," said Cromwell ; but, 
instantly recollecting that the corporal had been one of the 
adjutators or tribunes of the common soldiers, and was there- 
fore to be treated with suitable respect, he said, " Nevertheless, 
if it be the device of Satan, please it the Lord we will resist 
him, and the foul slave shall fly from us. — Pearson," he said, 
resuming his soldier-like brevity, " take four file, and see what 
is yonder — No — the knaves may shrink from thee. Go thou 
straight to the Lodge — invest it in the way we agreed, so that a 
bird shall not escape out of it — form an outward and an inward 
ring of sentinels, but give no alarm until I come. Should any 
attempt to escape, kill them." — He spoke that command with 
terrible emphasis. — "Kill them on the spot," he repeated, "be 
they who or what they will. Better so than trouble the 
Commonwealth with prisoners." 

Pearson heard, and proceeded to obey his commander's 
orders. 

Meanwhile, the future Protector disposed the small force 
which remained with him in such a manner that they should 
approach from different points at once the light which excited 
his suspicions, and gave them orders to creep as near to it as 
they could, taking care not to lose each other's support, and to 
be ready to rush in at the same moment, when he should give 
the sign, which was to be a loud whistle. Anxious to ascertain 
the truth with his own eyes, Cromwell, who had by instinct 
all the habits of military foresight, which, in others, are the 
result of professional education and long experience, advanced 
upon the object of his curiosity. He skulked from tree to tree 
with the light step and prowling sagacity of an Indian bush- 
fighter ; and before any of his men had approached so near as 
to descry them, he saw, by the lantern which was placed on 
the ground, two men, who had been engaged in digging what 
seemed to be an ill-made grave. Near them lay extended 
something wrapped in a deer's hide, which greatly resembled 
the dead body of a man. They spoke together in a low voice, 
yet so that their dangerous auditor could perfectly overhear 
what they said. 



358 WOODSTOCK 

" It is done at last," said one ; " the worst and hardest 
labour I ever did in my life. I believe there is no luck about 
me left. My very arms feel as if they did not belong to me ; 
and, strange to tell, toil as hard as 1 would, I could not gather 
warmth in my limbs." 

"I have warmed me enough," said Rochecliffe, breathing 
short with fatigue. 

" But the cold lies at my heart," said Joceline ; " I scarce 
hope ever to be warm again. It is strange, and a charm seems 
to be on us. Here have we been nigh two hours in doing 
what Diggen the sexton would have done to better purpose in 
half a one." 

" We are wretched spadesmen enough," answered Dr. Roche- 
cliffe. " Every man to his tools — thou to thy bugle-horn, and 
I to my papers in cipher. But do not be discouraged ; it is 
the frost on the ground, and the number of roots, which ren- 
dered our task difficult. And now, all due rites done to this 
unhappy man, and having read over him the service of the 
Church, valeat quantum, let us lay him decently in this place 
of last repose ; there will be small lack of him above ground. 
So cheer up thy heart, man, like a soldier as thou art ; we have 
read the service over his body ; and should times permit it, we 
will have him removed to consecrated ground, though he is all 
unworthy of such favour. Here, help me to lay him in the 
earth ; we will drag briers and thorns over the spot, when we 
have shovelled dust upon dust; and do thou think of this 
chance more manfully; and remember, thy secret is in thine 
own keeping." 

"I cannot answer for that," said Joceline. "Methinks the 
very night winds among the leaves will tell of what we have 
been doing — methinks the trees themselves will say 'there is 
a dead corpse lies among our roots.' Witnesses are soon found 
when blood hath been spilled." 

"They are so, and that right early," exclaimed Cromwell, 
starting from the thicket, laying hold on Joceline, and putting 
a pistol to his head. At any other period of his life, the 
forester would, even against the odds of numbers, have made a 
desperate resistance ; but the horror he had felt at the slaughter 
of an old companion, although in defence of his own life, to- 
gether with fatigue and surprise, had altogether unmanned 
him, and he was seized as easily as a sheep is secured by the 
butcher. Dr. Rochecliffe offered some resistance, but was pre- 
sently secured by the soldiers who pressed around him. 

" Look, some of you," said Cromwell, " what corpse this is upon 
whom these lewd sons of Belial have done a murder — Corporal 
Grace-be-here Humgudgeon, see if thou knowest the face." 

" I profess I do, even as I should do mine own in a mirror," 



WOODSTOCK 



359 



snuffled the corpora., after looking on the countenance of the 
dead man by the help of the lantern. " Of a verity it is our 
trusty brother in the faith, Joseph Tomkins." 

"Tomkins!" exclaimed Cromwell, springing forward and 
satisfying himself with a glance at the features of the corpse — 
"Tomkins! — and murdered, as the fracture of the temple 
intimates ! — dogs that ye are, confess the truth — You have 
murdered him because you have discovered his treachery — I 
should say his true spirit towards the Commonwealth of England, 
and his hatred of those complots in which you would have 
engaged his honest simplicity/' 

" Ay," said Grace-be-here Humgudgeon, " and then to mis- 
use his dead body with your papistical doctrines, as if you 
had crammed cold porridge into its cold mouth. I pray thee, 
General, let these men's bonds be made strong." 

"Forbear, corporal," said Cromwell; "our time presses. — 
Friend, to you, whom I believe to be Doctor Anthony Roche- 
cliffe by name and surname, I have to give the choice of being 
hanged at daybreak to-morrow, or making atonement for the 
murder of one of the Lord's people, by telling what thou 
knowest of the secrets which are in yonder house." 

"Truly, sir," replied Rochecliffe, "you found me but in 
my duty as a clergyman, interring the dead ; and respecting 
answering your questions, I am determined myself, and do 
advise my fellow-sufferer on this occasion " 

"Remove him," said Cromwell; "I know his stiffnecked- 
ness of old, though I have made him plough in my furrow, 
when he thought he was turning up his own swathe — Remove 
him to the rear, and bring hither the other fellow. — Come thou 
here — this way — closer — closer. — Corporal Grace-be-here, do 
thou keep thy hand upon the belt with which he is bound. We 
must take care of our life for the sake of this distracted country, 
though, lack-a-day, for its own proper worth we could peril it 
for a pin's point. — Now, mark me, fellow, choose betwixt buy- 
ing thy life by a full confession, or being tucked presently up 
to one of these old oaks — How likest thou that ? " 

"Truly, master," answered the under-keeper, affecting more 
rusticity than was natural to him (for his frequent intercourse 
with Sir Henry Lee had partly softened and polished his manners), 
" I think the oak is like to bear a lusty acorn — that is all." 

" Dally not with me, friend," continued Oliver ; " I profess 
to thee in sincerity I am no trifler. What guests have you 
seen at yonder house called the Lodge ? " 

"Many a brave guest in my day, I'se warrant ye, master," 
said Joceline. " Ah, to see how the chimneys used to smoke 
some twelve years back ! Ah, sir, a sniff of it would have dined 
a poor man." 



3<5o 



WOODSTOCK 



" Out, rascal ! " said the General, " dost thou jeer me ? Tell 
me at once what guests have been of late in the Lodge — and 
look thee, friend, be assured, that in rendering me this satis- 
faction, thou shalt not only rescue thy neck from the halter, 
but render also an acceptable service to the State, and one 
which I will see fittingly rewarded. For, truly, I am not of 
those who would have the rain fall only on the proud and 
stately plants, but rather would, so far as my poor wishes and 
prayers are concerned, that it should also fall upon the lowly 
and humble grass and corn, that the heart of the husbandman 
may be rejoiced, and that as the cedar of Lebanon waxes in 
its height, in its boughs, and in its roots, so may the humble 
and lowly hyssop that groweth upon the walls, flourish, and — 
and, truly — Understand'st thou me, knave ? " 

" Not entirely, if it please your honour," said Joceline ; " but 
it sounds as if you were preaching a sermon, and has a marvel- 
lous twang of doctrine with it." 

"Then, in one word — thou knowest there is one Louis Ker- 
neguy, or Carnego, or some such name, in hiding at the Lodge 
yonder ? " 

" Nay, sir," replied the under-keeper, " there have been many 
coming and going since Worcester-field ; and how should I 
know who they are ? — my service is out of doors, I trow." 

" A thousand pounds," said Cromwell, " do I tell down to 
thee if thou canst place that boy in my power." 

t( A thousand pounds is a marvellous matter, sir," said Joce- 
line ; " but I have more blood on my hand than I like already. 
I know not how the price of life may thrive — and, 'scape or 
hang, I have no mind to try." 

" Away with him to the rear," said the General ; " and let 
him not speak with his yoke-fellow yonder. — Fool that I am, 
to waste time in expecting to get milk from mules. — Move on 
towards the Lodge." 

They moved with the same silence as formerly, notwithstanding 
the difficulties which they encountered from being unacquainted 
with the road and its various intricacies. At length they were 
challenged in a low voice by one of their own sentinels, two 
concentric circles of whom had been placed around the Lodge, so 
close to each other as to preclude the possibility of an individual 
escaping from within. The outer guard was maintained partly 
by horse upon the roads and open lawn, and where the ground 
was broken and bushy, by infantry. The inner circle was guarded 
by foot soldiers only. The whole were in the highest degree 
alert, expecting some interesting and important consequences 
from the unusual expedition on which they were engaged. 

u . Any news, Pearson ? " said the General to his aide-de-camp, 
who came instantly to report to his superior. 



WOODSTOCK 



361 



He received for answer, * None." 

Cromwell led his officer forward just opposite to the door of 
1 the Lodge, and there paused betwixt the circles of guards, so 
I that their conversation could not be overheard. 

He then pursued his inquiry, demanding — " Were there any 
I lights, any appearances of stirring — any attempt at sally — any 
I preparation for defence ? " 

" All as silent as the valley of the shadow of death — Even as 
I the vale of Jehoshaphat." 

u Pshaw ! tell me not of Jehoshaphat, Pearson," said Crom 
well. " These words are good for others, but not for thee. 
Speak plainly, and like a blunt soldier as thou art. Each man 
hath his own mode of speech ; and bluntness, not sanctity, is 
thine." 

" Well, then, nothing has been stirring," said Pearson. — 
" Yet peradventure " 

" Peradventure not me," said Cromwell, " or thou wilt tempt 
me to knock thy teeth out. I ever distrust a man when he 
I speaks after another fashion from his own." 

" Zounds ! let me speak to an end," answered Pearson, " and 
I will speak in what language your Excellency will." 

"Thy zounds, friend," said Oliver, "showeth little of grace, 
but much of sincerity. Go to, then — thou knowest I love and 
trust thee. Hast thou kept close watch ? It behoves us to 
know that, before giving the alarm." 

" On my soul," said Pearson, " I have watched as closely as 
a cat at a mouse-hole. It is beyond possibility that anything 
could have eluded our vigilance, or even stirred within the 
I house, without our being aware of it." 

"'Tis well," said Cromwell; "thy services shall not be for- 
1 gotten, Pearson. Thou canst not preach and pray, but thou 
canst obey thine orders, Gilbert Pearson, and that may make 
amends." 

" I thank your Excellency," replied Pearson ; " but I beg 
leave to chime in with the humours of the times. A poor 
fellow hath no right to hold himself singular." 

He paused, expecting Cromwell's orders what next was to 
be done, and, indeed, not a little surprised that the General's 
active and prompt spirit had suffered him during a moment so 
critical to cast away a thought upon a circumstance so trivial 
as his officer's peculiar mode of expressing himself. He won- 
dered still more, when, by a brighter gleam of moonshine than 
he had yet enjoyed, he observed that Cromwell was standing 
motionless, his hands supported upon his sword, which he had 
taken out of the belt, and his stern brows bent on the ground. 
He waited for some time impatiently, yet afraid to interfere, 
lest he should awaken this unwonted fit of ill-timed melan- 



7,62 WOODSTOCK 

choly into anger and impatience. He listened to the muttering 
sounds which escaped from the half-opening lips of his prin- 
cipal, in which the words, "hard necessity," which occurred 
more than once, were all of which the sense could be distin- 
guished. " My Lord-General," at length he said, " time flies." 

"Peace, busy fiend, and urge me not!" said Cromwell. 
"Think'st thou, like other fools, that I have made a paction 
with the devil for success, and am bound to do my work within 
an appointed hour, lest the spell should lose its force ? " 

"I only think, my Lord-General," said Pearson, "that For- 
tune has put into your offer what you have long desired to 
make prize of, and that you hesitate." 

Cromwell sighed deeply as he answered, "Ah, Pearson, in 
this troubled world, a man, who is called like me to work great 
things in Israel, had need to be, as the poets feign, a thing 
made of hardened metal, immovable to feelings of human 
charities, impassible, resistless. Pearson, the world will here- 
after, perchance, think of me as being such a one as I have 
described, 'an iron man, and made of iron mould.' — Yet they 
will wrong my memory — my heart is flesh, and my blood is 
mild as that of others. When I was a sportsman, I have wept 
for the gallant heron that was struck down by my hawk, and 
sorrowed for the hare which lay screaming under the jaws of 
my greyhound ; and canst thou think it a light thing to me, 
that, the blood of this lad's father lying in some measure upon 
my head, I should now put in peril that of the son ? They are 
of the kindly race of English sovereigns, and, doubtless, are 
adored like to demigods by those of their own party. I am called 
Parricide, Bloodthirsty Usurper, already, for shedding the blood 
of one man, that the plague might be stayed — or as Achan was 
slain that Israel might thereafter stand against the face of 
their enemies. Nevertheless, who has spoken unto me graciously 
since that high deed ? Those who acted in the matter with 
me are willing that I should be the scapegoat of atonement — 
those who looked on and helped not, bear themselves now as 
if they had been borne down by violence ; and while I looked 
that they should shout applause on me, because of the victory 
of Worcester, whereof the Lord had made me the poor in- 
strument, they look aside to say, ' Ha ! ha ! the King-killer, 
the Parricide — soon shall his place be made desolate/ — Truly 
it is a great thing, Gilbert Pearson, to be lifted above the 
multitude ; but when one feeleth that his exaltation is rather 
hailed with hate and scorn than with love and reverence — in 
sooth, it is still a hard matter for a mild, tender-conscienced, 
infirm spirit to bear — and God be my witness, that, rather than 
do this new deed, I would shed my own best heart' s-blood in a 
pitched field, twenty against one." Here he fell into a flood of 



WOODSTOCK 363 

tears, which he sometimes was wont to do. This extremity of 
emotion was of a singular character. It was not actually the 
result of penitence, and far less that of absolute hypocrisy, but 
arose merely from the temperature of that remarkable man, 
whose deep policy, and ardent enthusiasm, were intermingled 
with a strain of hypochondriacal passion, which often led him 
to exhibit scenes of this sort, though seldom, as now, when he 
was called to the execution of great undertakings. 

Pearson, well acquainted as he was with the peculiarities of 
his General, was baffled and confounded by this fit of hesitation 
and contrition, by which his enterprising spirit appeared to be 
so suddenly paralysed. After a moment's silence, he said, with 
some dryness of manner, " If this be the case, it is a pity your 
Excellency came hither. Corporal Humgudgeon and I, the 
greatest saint and greatest sinner in your army, had done the 
deed, and divided the guilt and the honour betwixt us." 

" Ha ! " said Cromwell, as if touched to the quick, " wouldst 
thou take the prey from the lion ? " 

" If the lion behaves like a village cur," said Pearson boldly, 
" who now barks and seems as if he would tear all to pieces, 
and now flies from a raised stick or stone, I know not why I 
should fear him. If Lambert had been here, there had been 
less speaking and more action." 

" Lambert ! What of Lambert ? " said Cromwell very sharply. 

"Only," said Pearson, "that I long since hesitated whether 
I should follow your Excellency or him— ^-and I begin to be 
uncertain whether I have made the best choice, that's all." 

" Lambert ! " exclaimed Cromwell impatiently, yet softening 
his voice lest he should be overheard descanting on the char- 
acter of his rival, — "What is Lambert? — a tulip-fancying 
fellow, whom nature intended for a Dutch gardener at Delft 
or Rotterdam. Ungrateful as thou art, what could Lambert 
have done for thee ? " 

" He would not," answered Pearson, " have stood here hesi- 
tating before a locked door, when fortune presented the means 
of securing, by one blow, his own fortune, and that of all who 
followed him." 

" Thou art right, Gilbert Pearson," said Cromwell, grasping his 
officer's hand, and strongly pressing it. " Be the half of this bold 
accompt thine, whether the reckoning be on earth or heaven." 

"Be the whole of it mine hereafter," said Pearson hardily, 
" so your Excellency have the advantage of it upon earth. Step 
back to the rear till I force the door — there may be danger, if 
despair induce them to make a desperate sally." 

" And if they do sally, is there one of my Ironsides who fears 
fire or steel less than myself?" said the General. "Let ten of 
the most determined men follow us, two with halberts, two 



364 WOODSTOCK 

with petronels, the others with pistols — Let all their arms be 
loaded, and fire without hesitation, if there is any attempt to 
resist or to sally forth — Let Corporal Humgudgeon be with 
them, and do thou remain here, and watch against escape, as 
thou wouldst watch for thy salvation." 

The General then struck at the door with the hilt of his 
sword — at first with a single blow or two, then with a reverbera- 
tion of strokes that made the ancient building ring again. This 
noisy summons was repeated once or twice without producing 
the least effect. 

" What can this mean ? " said Cromwell \ " they cannot surely 
have fled, and left the house empty." 

" No," replied Pearson, " I will insure you against that ; but 
your Excellency strikes so fiercely, you allow no time for an 
answer. Hark ! I hear the baying of a hound, and the voice 
of a man who is quieting him — Shall we break in at once, or 
hold parley ? " 

" I will speak to them first," said Cromwell. — " Hullo ! who 
is within there ? " 

" Who is it inquires ? " answered Sir Henry Lee from the 
interior ; " or what want ye here at this dead hour ? " 

"We come by warrant of the Commonwealth of England," 
said the General. 

1 must see your warrant ere I undo either bolt or latch," 
replied the knight ; " we are enough of us to make good the 
castle ; neither I nor my fellows will deliver it up but upon 
good quarter and conditions ; and we will not treat for these 
save in fair daylight." 

" Since you will not yield to our right, you must try our 
might," replied Cromwell. "Look to yourselves within, the 
door will be in the midst of you in five minutes." 

" Look to yourselves without," replied the stout-hearted Sir 
Henry ; " we will pour our shot upon you, if you attempt the 
least violence." 

But, alas ! while he assumed this bold language, his whole 
garrison consisted of two poor terrified women ; for his son, in 
conformity with the plan which they had fixed upon, had with- 
drawn from the hall into the secret recesses of the palace. 

"What can they be doing now, sir?" said Phoebe, hearing 
a noise as it were of a carpenter turning screw-nails, mixed with 
a low buzz of men talking. 

"They are fixing a petard," said the knight, with great com- 
posure. " I have noted thee for a clever wench, Phoebe, and I 
will explain it to thee : 'Tis a metal pot, shaped much like one 
of the roguish knaves' own sugar-loaf hats, supposing it had 
narrower brims — it is charged with some few pounds of fine 
gunpowder. Then — 



WOODSTOCK 365 

" Gracious ! we shall be all blown up ! " exclaimed Phoebe, — 
the word gunpowder being the only one which she understood 
in the knight's description. 

"Not a bit, foolish girl. Pack old Dame Jellicot into the 
embrasure of yonder window," said the knight, "on that side 
of the door, and we will ensconce ourselves on this, and we 
shall have time to finish my explanation, for they have bungling 
engineers. We had a clever French fellow at Newark would 
have done the job in the firing of a pistol." 

They had scarce got into the place of security when the knight 
proceeded with his description. — "The petard being formed, as 
I tell you, is secured with a thick and strong piece of plank, termed 
the madrier, and the whole being suspended, or rather secured 
against the gate to be forced — But thou mindest me not ? " 

" How can I, Sir Henry," she said, et within reach of such a 
thing as you speak of? — O Lord! I shall go mad with very 
terror — we shall be crushed — blown up — in a few minutes !" 

" We are secure from the explosion," replied the knight 
gravely, " which will operate chiefly in a forward direction into 
the middle of the chamber ; and from any fragments that may fly 
laterally, we are sufficiently guarded by this deep embrasure." 

" But they will slay us when they enter," said Phcebe. 

"They will give thee fair quarter, wench," said Sir Henry ; 
" and if I do not bestow a brace of balls on that rogue engineer, 
it is because I would not incur the penalty inflicted by martial 
law, which condemns to the edge of the sword all persons who 
attempt to defend an untenable post. Not that I think the 
rigour of the law could reach Dame Jellicot or thyself, Phcebe, 
considering that you carry no arms. If Alice had been here 
she might indeed have done somewhat, for she can use a 
birding-piece." 

Phcebe might have appealed to her own deeds of that day, 
as more allied to feats of mHee and battle, than any which her 
young lady ever acted ; but she was in an agony of inexpressible 
terror, expecting, from the knight's account of the petard, some 
dreadful catastrophe, of what nature she did not justly understand, 
notwithstanding his liberal communication on the subject. 

" They are strangely awkward at it," said Sir Henry ; "little 
Boutirlin would have blown the house up before now. — Ah ! 
he is a fellow would take the earth like a rabbit — if he had 
been here, never may I stir but he would have countermined 
them ere now, and 

' 'Tis sport to have the engineer 

Hoist with his own petard, 

as our immortal Shakspeare has it." 

" Oh, Lord, the poor mad old gentleman," thought Phcebe — 



366 WOODSTOCK 

" Oh, sir, had you not better leave alone playbooks, and think 
of your end ? " uttered she aloud, in sheer terror and vexation 
of spirit. 

" If I had not made up my mind to that many days since," 
answered the knight, "I had not now met this hour with a 
free bosom — 

• As gentle and as jocund as to rest, 
Go I to death — truth hath a quiet breast.' " 

As he spoke, a broad glare of light flashed from without, 
through the windows of the hall, and betwixt the strong iron 
stanchions with which they were secured — a broad discoloured 
light it was, which shed a red and dusky illumination on the 
old armour and weapons, as if it had been the reflection of a 
conflagration. Phoebe screamed aloud, and, forgetful of rever- 
ence in the moment of passion, clung close to the knight's cloak 
and arm, while Dame Jellicot, from her solitary niche, having 
the use of her eyes, though bereft of her hearing, yelled like an 
owl when the moon breaks out suddenly. 

" Take care, good Phoebe," said the knight ; " you will pre- 
vent my using my weapon if you hang upon me thus. — The 
bungling fools cannot fix their petard without the use of torches ! 
Now let me take the advantage of this interval. — Remember 
what I told thee, and how to put off time." 

" Oh, Lord — ay, sir," said Phoebe, " I will say anything. 
Oh, Lord, that it were but over ! — Ah ! ah ! " — (two prolonged 
screams) — " I hear something hissing like a serpent." 

" It is the fusee, as we martialists call it," replied the knight ; 
"that is, Phoebe, the match which fires the petard, and which 
is longer or shorter, according to the distance." 

Here the knight's discourse was cut short by a dreadful 
explosion, which, as he had foretold, shattered the door, strong 
as it was, to pieces, and brought down the glass clattering from 
the windows with all the painted heroes and heroines, who had 
been recorded on that fragile place of memory for centuries. 
The women shrieked incessantly, and were answered by the 
bellowing of Bevis, though shut up at a distance from the scene 
of action. The knight, shaking Phoebe from him with diffi- 
culty, advanced into the hall to meet those who rushed in, with 
torches lighted and weapons prepared. 

"Death to all who resist — life to those who surrender!" 
exclaimed Cromwell, stamping with his foot. " Who commands 
this garrison ? " 

"Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley," answered the old knight, 
stepping forward ; " who, having no other garrison than two 
weak women, is compelled to submit to what he would willingly 
have resisted." 



WOODSTOCK 367 

"Disarm the inveterate and malignant rebel," cried Oliver. 
" Art thou not ashamed, sir, to detain me before the door of a 
house which you had no force to defend? Wearest thou so 
white a beard, and knowest thou not, that to refuse surren- 
dering an indefensible post, by the martial law, deserves 
hanging ? " 

" My beard and I," said Sir Henry, " have settled that matter 
between us, and agree right cordially. It is better to run the 
risk of being hanged like honest men, than to give up our trust 
like cowards and traitors." 

" Ha ! say'st thou ? " said Cromwell ; " thou hast powerful 
motives, I doubt not, for running thy head into a noose. But 
I will speak with thee by-and-by. Ho ! Pearson, Gilbert 
Pearson, take this scroll — Take the elder woman with thee — 
Let her guide you to the various places therein mentioned — 
Search every room therein set down, and arrest, or slay upon 
the slightest resistance, whomsoever you find there. Then note 
those places marked as commanding points for cutting off inter- 
course through the mansion — the landing-places of the great 
staircase, the great gallery, and so forth. Use the woman 
civilly. The plan annexed to the scroll will point out the 
posts, even if she prove stupid or refractory. Meanwhile, the 
corporal, with a party, will bring the old man and the girl 
there to some apartment — the parlour, I think, called Victor 
Lee's, will do as well as another. — We will then be out of this 
stifling smell of gunpowder." 

So saying, and without requiring any further assistance or 
guidance, he walked towards the apartment he had named. 
Sir Henry had his own feelings, when he saw the unhesitating 
decision with which the General led the way, and which seemed 
to intimate a more complete acquaintance with the various 
localities of Woodstock than was consistent with his own 
present design, to engage the Commonwealth party in a fruit- 
less search through the intricacies of the Lodge. 

"I will now ask thee a few questions, old man," said the 
General, when they had arrived in the room ; " and I warn 
thee, that hope of pardon for thy many and persevering efforts 
against the Commonwealth, can be no otherwise merited than by 
the most direct answers to the questions I am about to ask." 

Sir Henry bowed. He would have spoken, but he felt his 
temper rising high, and became afraid it might be exhausted 
before the part he had settled to play, in order to afford the 
King time for his escape, should be brought to an end. 

" What household have you had here, Sir Henry Lee, within 
these few days — what guests — what visitors ? We know that 
your means of housekeeping are not so profuse as usual, so the 
catalogue cannot be burdensome to your memory." 



368 WOODSTOCK 

"Far from it," replied the knight, with unusual command of 
temper; "my daughter, and latterly my son, have been my 
guests ; and I have had these females, and one Joceline Joliffe, 
to attend upon us." 

" I do not ask after the regular members of your household, 
but after those who have been within your gates, either as 
guests, or as malignant fugitives taking shelter ? " 

" There may have been more of both kinds, sir, than I, if it 
please your valour, am able to answer for," replied the knight. 
"I remember my kinsman Everard was here one morning — 
Also, I bethink me, a follower of his, called Wildrake." 

"Did you not also receive a young cavalier, called Louis 
Garnegey ? " said Cromwell. 

" I remember no such name, were I to hang for it," said the 
knight. 

" Kerneguy, or some such word," said the General ; " we will 
not quarrel for a sound." 

" A Scotch lad, called Louis Kerneguy, was a guest of mine," 
said Sir Henry, "and left me this morning for Dorsetshire." 

" So late ! " exclaimed Cromwell, stamping with his foot — 
" How fate contrives to baffle us, even when she seems most 
favourable ! — What direction did he take, old man ? " con- 
tinued Cromwell — "what horse did he ride — who went with 
him?" 

" My son went with him," replied the knight ; ff he brought 
him here as the son of a Scottish lord. — I pray you, sir, to be 
finished with these questions ; for although I owe thee, as Will 
Shakspeare says, 

' Kespect for thy great place, and let the devil 
Be sometimes honoured for his burning throne,' — 

yet I feel my patience wearing thin." 

Cromwell here whispered to the corporal, who in turn uttered 
orders to two soldiers, who left the room. " Place the knight 
aside; we will now examine the servant damsel," said the 
General. — "Dost thou know," said he to Phoebe, "of the pre- 
sence of one Louis Kerneguy, calling himself a Scotch page, 
who came here a few days since ? " 

" Surely, sir," she replied, " I cannot easily forget him ; and 
I warrant no well-looking wench that comes into his way will 
be like to forget him either." 

" Aha," said Cromwell, " sayst thou so ? truly I believe the 
woman will prove the truer witness. — When did he leave this 
house ? " 

" Nay, I know nothing of his movements, not I," said Phcebe ; 
" I am only glad to keep out of his way. But if he have actu- 
ally gone hence, I am sure he was here some two hours since, 



WOODSTOCK 369 

for he crossed me in the lower passage, between the hall and 
the kitchen." 

" How did you know it was he ? " demanded Cromwell. 

"By a rude enough token," said Phoebe. — "La, sir, you do 
ask such questions ! " she added, hanging down her head. 

Humgudgeon here interfered, taking upon himself the free- 
dom of a coadjutor. "Verily," he said, "if what the damsel 
is called to speak upon hath aught unseemly, I crave your 
Excellency's permission to withdraw, not desiring that my 
nightly meditations may be disturbed with tales of such a 
nature." 

"Nay, your honour," said Phcebe, "I scorn the old man's 
words, in the way of seemliness or unseemliness either. Master 
Louis did but snatch a kiss, that is the truth of it, if it must 
be told." 

Here Humgudgeon groaned deeply, while his Excellency 
avoided laughing with some difficulty. " Thou hast given ex- 
cellent tokens, Phcebe," he said; "and if they be true, as I 
think they seem to be, thou shalt not lack thy reward. — And 
here comes our spy from the stables." 

" There are not the least signs," said the trooper, " that 
horses have been in the stables for a month — there is no litter 
in the stalls, no hay in the racks, the corn-binns are empty, 
and the mangers are full of cobwebs." 

"Ay, ay," said the old knight, "I have seen when I kept 
twenty good horses in these stalls, with many a groom and 
stable-boy to attend them." 

"In the meanwhile," said Cromwell, "their present state 
tells little for the truth of your own story, that there were 
horses to-day, on which this Kerneguy and your son fled from 
justice." 

"I did not say that the horses were kept there," said the 
knight. " I have horses and stables elsewhere." 

" Fie, fie, for shame, for shame ! " said the General ; " can a 
white-bearded man, I ask it once more, be a false witness ? " 

"Faith, sir," said Sir Henry Lee, "it is a thriving trade, 
and I wonder not that you who live on it are so severe in pro- 
secuting interlopers. But it is the times, and those who rule 
the times, that make grey-beards deceivers." 

" Thou art facetious, friend, as well as daring, in thy malig- 
nancy," said Cromwell; "but credit me, I will cry quittance 
with you ere I am done. Whereunto lead these doors ? " 

" To bedrooms," answered the knight. 

" Bedrooms ! only to bedrooms ? " said the Republican General, 
in a voice which indicated such was the internal occupation of 
his thoughts, that he had not fully understood the answer. 

"Lord, sir," said the knight, "why should you make it so 

2 a 



37o 



WOODSTOCK 



strange ? I say these doors lead to bedrooms — to places where 
honest men sleep, and rogues lie awake." 

"You are running up a farther account, Sir Henry/' said 
the General ; " but we will balance it once and for all." 

During the whole of the scene, Cromwell, whatever might 
be the internal uncertainty of his mind, maintained the most 
strict temperance in language and manner, just as if he had no 
farther interest in what was passing, than as a military man 
employed in discharging the duty enjoined him by his superiors. 
But the restraint upon his passion was but 

" The torrent's smoothness ere it dash below." * 

The course of his resolution was hurried on even more forcibly, 
because no violence of expression attended or announced its 
current. He threw himself into a chair, with a countenance 
that indicated no indecision of mind, but a determination which 
awaited only the signal for action. Meanwhile the knight, as 
if resolved in nothing to forego the privileges of his rank and 
place, sat himself down in turn, and putting on his hat, which 
lay on a table, regarded the General with a calm look of fear- 
less indifference. The soldiers stood around, some holding the 
torches, which illuminated the apartment with a lurid and 
sombre glare of light, the others resting upon their weapons. 
Phoebe, with her hands folded, her eyes turned upwards till the 
pupils were scarce visible, and every shade of colour banished 
from her ruddy cheek, stood like one in immediate apprehen- 
sion of the sentence of death being pronounced, and instant 
execution commanded. 

Heavy steps were at last heard, and Pearson and some of the 
soldiers returned. This seemed to be what Cromwell waited 
for. He started up, and asked hastily, " Any news, Pearson? 
any prisoners — any malignants slain in thy defence ? " 

" None, so please your Excellency," said the officer. 

u And are thy sentinels all carefully placed, as Tomkins' scroll 
gave direction, and with fitting orders ? " 

"With the most deliberate care," said Pearson. 

" Art thou very sure," said Cromwell, pulling him a little to 
one side, " that this is all well, and duly cared for r Bethink 
thee, that when we engage ourselves in the private communi- 
cations, all will be lost should the party we look for have the 
means of dodging us by an escape into the more open rooms, 
and from thence perhaps into the forest." 

"My Lord-General," answered Pearson, "if placing the 
guards on the places pointed out in this scroll be sufficient, 

* But mortal pleasure, what art thou in truth 1 
The torrent's smoothness ere it dash below. 

— Campbell's Gertrude of Wyoming. 



WOODSTOCK 



37i 



with the strictest orders to stop, and, if necessary, to stab or 
shoot, whoever crosses their post, such orders are given to men 
who will not fail to execute them. If more is necessary, your 
Excellency has only to speak." 

"No — no — no, Pearson," said the General, "thou hast done 
well. — This night over, and let it end but as we hope, thy re- 
ward shall not be wanting. — And now to business. — Sir Henry 
Lee, undo me the secret spring of yonder picture of your ancestor. 
Nay, spare yourself the trouble and guilt of falsehood or equi- 
vocation, and, I say, undo me that spring presently." 

"When I acknowledge you for my master, and wear your 
livery, I may obey your commands," answered the knight ; 
" even then I would need first to understand them." 

"Wench," said Cromwell, addressing Phoebe, "go thou undo 
the spring — you could do it fast enough when you aided at the 
gambols of the demons of Woodstock, and terrified even Mark 
Everard, who, I judged, had more sense." 

" Oh Lord, sir, what shall I do ? " said Phoebe, looking to 
the knight ; " they know all about it. What shall I do ? " 

" For thy life, hold out to the last, wench ! Every minute 
is worth a million." 

" Ha ! heard you that, Pearson ? " said Cromwell to the 
officer ; then, stamping with his foot, he added, " Undo the 
spring, or I will else use levers and wrenching-irons — Or, ha ! 
another petard were well bestowed — Call the engineer." 

" Oh Lord, sir," cried Phoebe, " I shall never live another 
peter — I will open the spring." 

"Do as thou wilt," said Sir Henry; "it shall profit them 
but little." 

Whether from real agitation, or from a desire to gain time, 
Phoebe was some minutes ere she could get the spring to open ; 
it was indeed secured with art, and the machinery on which it 
acted was concealed in the frame of the portrait. The whole, 
when fastened, appeared quite motionless, and betrayed, as 
when examined by Colonel Everard, no external mark of its 
being possible to remove it. It was now withdrawn, however, 
and showed a narrow recess, with steps which ascended on one 
side into the thickness of the wall. Cromwell was now like a 
greyhound slipped from the leash with the prey in full view. — 
" Up," he cried, " Pearson, thou art swifter than I — Up thou 
next, corporal." With more agility than could have been ex- 
pected from his person or years, which were past the meridian 
of life, and exclaiming, " Before, those with the torches ! " he 
followed the party, like an eager huntsman in the rear of his 
hounds, to encourage at once and direct them, as they pene- 
trated into the labyrinth described by Dr. Rochecliffe in the 
"Wonders of Woodstock." 



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WOODSTOCK 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

The King, therefore, for his defence 

Against the furious Queen, 
At Woodstock builded such a bower, 

As never yet was seen. 
Most curiously that bower was built, 

Of stone and timber strong ; 
An hundred and fifty doors 

Did to this bower belong ; 
And they so cunningly contrived, 

With turnings round about, 
That none but with a clew of thread 

Could enter in or out. 

—Ballad of Fair Rosamond. 

The tradition of the country, as well as some historical evidence, 
confirmed the opinion that there existed, within the old Royal 
Lodge at Woodstock, a labyrinth, or connected series of sub- 
terranean passages, built chiefly by Henry II., for the security 
of his mistress, Rosamond Clifford, from the jealousy of his 
Queen, the celebrated Eleanor. Dr. Rochecliffe, indeed, in 
one of those fits of contradiction with which antiquaries are 
sometimes seized, was bold enough to dispute the alleged 
purpose of the perplexed maze of rooms and passages, with 
which the walls of the ancient palace were perforated ; but the 
fact was undeniable, that in raising the fabric some Norman 
architect had exerted the utmost of the complicated art, which 
they have often shown elsewhere, in creating secret passages, 
and chambers of retreat and concealment. There were stairs, 
which were ascended merely, as it seemed, for the purpose of 
descending again — passages, which, after turning and winding 
for a considerable way, returned to the place where they set 
out — there were trap-doors and hatchways, panels and port- 
cullises. Although Oliver was assisted by a sort of ground-plan, 
made out and transmitted by Joseph Tomkins, whose former 
employment in Dr. Rochecliffe's service had made him fully 
acquainted with the place, it was found imperfect ; and, more- 
over, the most serious obstacles to their progress occurred in the 
shape of strong doors, party-walls, and iron-grates — so that the 
party blundered on in the dark, uncertain whether they were 
not going farther from, rather than approaching the extremity 
of the labyrinth. They were obliged to send for mechanics with 
sledge-hammers and other instruments, to force one or two of 
those doors, which resisted all other means of undoing them. 
Labouring along in these dusky passages, where, from time to 
time, they were like to be choked by the dust which their acts 
of violence excited, the soldiers were obliged to be relieved 



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373 



oftener than once, and the bulky Corporal Grace-be-here himself 
puffed and blew like a grampus that has got into shoal water. 
Cromwell alone continued, with unabated zeal, to push on his 
researches — to encourage the soldiers, by the exhortations 
which they best understood, against fainting for lack of faith — 
and to secure, by sentinels at proper places, possession of the 
ground which they had already explored. His acute and 
observing eye detected, with a sneering smile, the cordage and 
machinery by which the bed of poor Desborough had been 
inverted, and several remains of the various disguises, as well 
as private modes of access, by which Desborough, Bletson, and 
Harrison, had been previously imposed upon. He pointed 
them out to Pearson, with no farther comment than was implied 
in the exclamation, " The simple fools ! " 

But his assistants began to lose heart and be discouraged, 
and required all his spirit to raise theirs. He then called their 
attention to voices which they seemed to hear before them, and 
urged these as evidence that they were moving on the track 
of some enemy of the Commonwealth, who, for the execution 
of his malignant plots, had retreated into these extraordinary 
fastnesses. 

The spirits of the men became at last downcast, notwith- 
standing all this encouragement. They spoke to each other in 
whispers, of the devils of Woodstock, who might be all the 
while decoying them forward to a room said to exist in the 
Palace, where the floor, revolving on an axis, precipitated those 
who entered into a bottomless abyss. Humgudgeon hinted, 
that he had consulted the Scripture that morning by way of 
lot, and his fortune had been to alight on the passage, " Eutychus 
fell down from the third loft." The energy and authority of 
Cromwell, however, and the refreshment of some food and strong 
waters, reconciled them to pursuing their task. 

Nevertheless, with all their unwearied exertions, morning 
dawned on the search before they had reached Dr. RocheclhTe's 
sitting apartment, into which, after all, they obtained entrance 
by a mode much more difficult than that which the Doctor 
himself employed. But here their ingenuity was long at fault. 
From the miscellaneous articles that were strewed around, and 
the preparations made for food and lodging, it seemed they had 
gained the very citadel of the labyrinth ; but though various 
passages opened from it, they all terminated in places with 
which they were already acquainted, or communicated with the 
other parts of the house, where their own sentinels assured them 
none had passed. Cromwell remained long in deep uncertainty. 
Meantime he directed Pearson to take charge of the ciphers, 
and more important papers which lay on the table. " Though 
there is little there," he said, " that I have not already known, 



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WOODSTOCK 



by means of Trusty Tomkins — Honest Joseph — for an artful 
and thorough-paced agent, the like of thee is not left in 
England." 

After a considerable pause, during which he sounded with 
the pommel of his sword almost every stone in the building, 
and every plank on the floor, the General gave orders to bring 
the old knight and Dr. Rochecliffe to the spot, trusting that he 
might work out of them some explanation of the secrets of this 
apartment. 

"So please your Excellency to let me to deal with them," 
said Pearson, who was a true soldier of fortune, and had been 
a buccaneer in the West Indies, " I think that, by a whipcord 
twitched tight round their forehead, and twisted about with a 
pistol-butt, I could make either the truth start from their lips, 
or the eyes from their head." 

" Out upon thee, Pearson ! " said Cromwell, with abhorrence ; 
"we have no warrant for such cruelty, neither as Englishmen 
nor Christians. We may slay malignants as we crush noxious 
animals, but to torture them is a deadly sin ; for it is written, 
' He made them to be pitied of those who carried them captive/ 
Nay, I recall the order even for their examination, trusting that 
wisdom will be granted us without it, to discover their most 
secret devices." 

There was a pause accordingly, during which an idea seized 
upon Cromwell's imagination — "Bring me hither," he said, 
"yonder stool;" and placing it beneath one of the windows, 
of which there were two so high in the wall as not to be ac- 
cessible from the floor, he clambered up into the entrance of 
the window, which was six or seven feet deep, corresponding 
with the thickness of the wall. "Come up hither, Pearson," 
said the General ; " but ere thou comest, double the guard at 
the foot of the turret called Love's Ladder, and bid them bring 
up the other petard — So now, come thou hither." 

The inferior officer, however brave in the field, was one of 
those whom a great height strikes with giddiness and sickness. 
He shrunk back from the view of the precipice, on the verge of 
which Cromwell was standing with complete indifference, till 
the General, catching the hand of his follower, pulled him for- 
ward as far as he would advance. " I think," said the General, 
" I have found the clew, but by this light it is no easy one ! 
See you, we stand in the portal near the top of Rosamond's 
Tower ; and yon turret, which rises opposite to our feet, is that 
which is called Love's Ladder, from which the drawbridge 
reached that admitted the profligate Norman tyrant to the 
bower of his mistress." 

" True, my lord, but the drawbridge is gone," said Pearson. 

"Ay, Pearson,'' replied the General; "but an active man 




of yonder turret." 

" I do not think so, my lord/' said Pearson. 
"What?" said Cromwell; "not if the avenger of blood were 
behind you, with his slaughter-weapon in his hand ? " 

"The fear of instant death might do much," answered 
Pearson ; " but when I look at that sheer depth on either side, 
and at the empty chasm between us and yonder turret, which 
is, I warrant you, twelve feet distant, I confess the truth, 
nothing short of the most imminent danger should induce me 
to try. Pah — the thought makes my head grow giddy ! — I 
tremble to see your Highness stand there, balancing yourself as 
if you meditated a spring into the empty air. I repeat, I would 
scarce stand so near the verge as does your Highness, for the 
rescue of my life." 

" Ah, base and degenerate spirit ! " said the General ; " soul 
of mud and clay, wouldst thou not do it, and much more, for 
the possession of empire ! — that is, peradventure," continued 
he, changing his tone as one who has said too much, U shouldst 
thou be called on to do this, that thereby becoming a great man 
in the tribes of Israel, thou mightest redeem the captivity of 
Jerusalem — Ay, and it may be, work some great work for the 
afflicted people of this land ? " 

"Your Highness may feel such calls," said the officer, "but 
they are not for poor Gilbert Pearson, your faithful follower. 
You made a jest of me yesterday, when I tried to speak your 
language ; and I am no more able to fulfil your designs than 
to use your mode of speech." 

"But, Pearson," said Cromwell, "thou hast thrice, yea, four 
times, called me your Highness." 

" Did I, my lord ? I was not sensible of it. I crave your 
pardon," said the officer. 

"Nay," said Oliver, "there was no offence. I do indeed 
stand high, and I may perchance stand higher — though, alas ! 
it were fitter for a simple soul like me to return to my plough 
and my husbandry. Nevertheless, I will not wrestle against 
the Supreme will, should I be called on to do yet more in that 
worthy cause. For surely he who hath been to our British 
Israel as a shield of help, and a sword of excellency, making 
her enemies be found liars unto her, will not give over the flock 
to those foolish shepherds of Westminster, who shear the sheep 
and feed them not, and who are in very deed hirelings, not 
shepherds." 

"I trust to see your lordship quoit them all downstairs," 
answered Pearson. "But may I ask why we pursue this 
discourse even now, until we have secured the common 
enemy ? " 



376 WOODSTOCK 

"1 will tarry no jot of time/' — said the General; "fence 
the communication of Love's Ladder, as it is called, below, as I 
take it for almost certain, that the party whom we have driven 
from fastness to fastness during the night, has at length sprung 
to the top of yonder battlements from the place where we now 
stand. Finding the turret is guarded below, the place he has 
chosen for his security will prove a rat-trap, from whence there 
is no returning." 

" There is a cask of gunpowder in this cabinet," said Pearson ; 
" were it not better, my lord, to mine the tower, if he will not 
render himself, and send the whole turret with its contents one 
hundred feet in the air ? " 

"Ah, silly man," said Cromwell, striking him familiarly on 
the shoulder ; " if thou hadst done this without telling me, it 
had been good service. But we will first summon the turret, 
and then think whether the petard will serve our turn — it is 
but mining at last. — Blow a summons there, down below." 

The trumpets rang at his bidding, till the old walls echoed 
from every recess and vaulted archway. Cromwell, as if he 
cared not to look upon the person whom he expected to appear, 
drew back, like a necromancer afraid of the spectre which he 
has evoked. 

"He has come to the battlement," said Pearson to his 
General. 

" In what dress or appearance ? " answered Cromwell from 
within the chamber. 

" A grey riding-suit, passmented with silver, russet walking- 
boots, a cut band, a grey hat and plume, black hair." 

"It is he, it is he !" said Cromwell; "and another crowning 
mercy is vouchsafed ! " 

Meantime, Pearson and young Lee exchanged defiance from 
their respective posts. 

" Surrender," said the former, " or we blow you up in your 
fastness." 

" I am come of too high a race to surrender to rebels," said 
Albert, assuming the air with which, in such a condition, a king 
might have spoken. 

"I bear you to witness," cried Cromwell exultingly, "he 
hath refused quarter. Of a surety, his blood be on his head. — 
One of you bring down the barrel of powder. As he loves to 
soar high, we will add what can be taken from the soldiers' 
bandoleers. Come with me, Pearson; thou understandest this 
gear. Corporal Grace-be-here, stand thou fast on the platform 
of the window where Captain Pearson and I stood but even 
now, and bend the point of thy partisan against any who shall 
attempt to pass. Thou art as strong as a bull ; and I will back 
thee against despair itself," 



WOODSTOCK 



377 



" But/' said the corporal, mounting reluctantly, " the place is 
as the pinnacle of the temple ; and it is written, that Eutychus 
fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead." 

" Because he slept upon his post," answered Cromwell readily. 
" Beware thou of carelessness, and thus thy feet shall be kept 
from stumbling. — You four soldiers remain here to support the 
corporal, if it be necessary ; and you, as well as the corporal, 
will draw into the vaulted passage the minute the trumpets 
sound a retreat. It is as strong as a casemate, and you may lie 
there safe from the effects of the mine. Thou, Zerubbabel 
Robins, I know wilt be their lance-prisade." * 

Robins bowed, and the General departed to join those who 
were without. 

As he reached the door of the hall, the petard was heard to 
explode, and he saw that it had succeeded ; for the soldiers 
rushed, brandishing their swords and pistols, in at the postern 
of the turret, whose gate had been successfully forced. A thrill 
of exultation, but not unmingled with horror, shot across the 
veins of the ambitious soldier. 

" Now — now ! " he cried ; " they are dealing with him ! " 

His expectations were deceived. Pearson and the others 
returned disappointed, and reported they had been stopt by a 
strong trap-door of grated iron, extended over the narrow stair ; 
and they could see there was an obstacle of the same kind 
some ten feet higher. To remove it by force, while a desperate 
and well-armed man had the advantage of the steps above 
them, might cost many lives. " Which, lack-a-day," said the 
General, "it is our duty to be tender of. What dost thou 
advise, Gilbert Pearson ? " 

"We must use powder, my lord," answered Pearson, who 
saw his master was too modest to reserve to himself the whole 
merit of the proceeding — " There may be a chamber easily and 
conveniently formed under the foot of the stair. We have a 
sausage, by good luck, to form the train — and so " 

" Ah ! " said Cromwell, " I know thou canst manage such 
gear well — But, Gilbert, I go to visit the posts, and give them 
orders to retire to a safe distance when the retreat is sounded. 
You will allow them five minutes for this purpose." 

"Three is enough for any knave of them all," said Pearson. 
" They will be lame indeed, that require more on such a service. 
— I ask but one, though I fire the train myself." 

"Take heed," said Cromwell, "that the poor soul be listened 
to, if he asks quarter. It may be, he may repent him of his 
hard-heartedness, and call for mercy." 

"And mercy he shall have," — answered Pearson, "provided 

* "Lance-prisade," or " lance-brisade," a private appointed to a small 
command — a sort of temporary corporal. 



378 WOODSTOCK 

he calls loud enough to make me hear him ; for the explosion 
of that damned petard has made me as deaf as the devil's 
dam." 

" Hush, Gilbert, hush!" said Cromwell; "you offend in your 
language." 

" Zooks, sir, I must speak either in your way, or in my own," 
said Pearson, " unless I am to be dumb as well as deaf ! — 
Away with you, my lord, to visit the posts ; and you will 
presently hear me make some noise in the world." 

Cromwell smiled gently at his aide-de-camp's petulance, 
patted him on the shoulder, and called him a mad fellow, 
walked a little way, then turned back to whisper, "What 
thou dost, do quickly ; " then returned again towards the outer 
circle of guards, turning his head from time to time, as if to 
assure himself that the corporal, to whom he had entrusted 
the duty, still kept guard with his advanced weapon upon the 
terrific chasm between Rosamond's Tower and the correspond- 
ing turret. Seeing him standing on his post, the General 
muttered between his moustaches, " The fellow hath the strength 
and courage of a bear ; and yonder is a post where one shall 
do more to keep back than an hundred in making way." He 
cast a last look on the gigantic figure, who stood in that airy 
position, like some Gothic statue, the weapon half levelled 
against the opposite turret, with the butt rested against his 
right foot, his steel cap and burnished corselet glittering in the 
rising sun. 

Cromwell then passed on to give the necessary orders, that 
such sentinels as might be endangered at their present posts by 
the effect of the mine, should withdraw at the sound of the 
trumpet to the places which he pointed out to them. Never, 
on any occasion of his life, did he display more calmness and 
presence of mind. He was kind, nay, facetious with the soldiers, 
who adored him ; and yet he resembled a volcano before the 
eruption commences — all peaceful and quiet without, while a 
hundred contradictory passions were raging in his bosom. 

Corporal Humgudgeon, meanwhile, remained steady upon 
his post ; yet, though as determined a soldier as ever fought 
among the redoubted regiment of Ironsides, and possessed of 
no small share of that exalted fanaticism which lent so keen an 
edge to the natural courage of those stern religionists, the 
veteran felt his present situation to be highly uncomfortable. 
Within a pike's length of him arose a turret, which was about 
to be dispersed in massive fragments through the air ; and he 
felt small confidence in the length of time which might be 
allowed for his escape from such a dangerous vicinity. The 
duty of constant vigilance upon his post, was partly divided 
by this natural feeling, which induced him from time to time 



WOODSTOCK 



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to bend his eyes on the miners below, instead of keeping them 
riveted on the opposite turret. 

At length the interest of the scene arose to the uttermost. 
After entering and returning from the turret, and coming out 
again more than once, in the course of about twenty minutes 
Pearson issued, as it might be supposed, for the last 'time, 
carrying in his hand, and uncoiling, as he went along, the 
sausage, or linen bag (so called from its appearance), which, 
strongly sewed together, and crammed with gunpowder, was 
to serve as a train betwixt the mine to be sprung, and the 
point occupied by the engineer who was to give fire. He 
was in the act of finally adjusting it, when the attention of 
the corporal on the tower became irresistibly and exclusively 
riveted upon the preparations for the explosion. But while he 
watched the aide-de-camp drawing his pistol to give fire, and 
the trumpeter handling his instrument, as waiting the order 
to sound the retreat, fate rushed on the unhappy sentinel in a 
way he least expected. 

Young, active, bold, and completely possessed of his presence 
of mind, Albert Lee, who had been from the loopholes a 
watchful observer of every measure which had been taken by 
his besiegers, had resolved to make one desperate effort for 
self-preservation. While the head of the sentinel on the 
opposite platform was turned from him, and bent rather down- 
wards, he suddenly sprung across the chasm, though the space 
on which he lighted was scarce wide enough for two persons, 
threw the surprised soldier from his precarious stand, and 
jumped himself down into the chamber. The gigantic trooper 
went sheer down twenty feet, struck against a projecting 
battlement, which launched the wretched man outwards, and 
then fell on the earth with such tremendous force, that the 
head, which first touched the ground, dinted a hole in the soil 
of six inches in depth, and was crushed like an eggshell. 
Scarce knowing what had happened, yet startled and con- 
founded at the descent of this heavy body, which fell at no 
great distance from him, Pearson snapt his pistol at the train, 
no previous warning given ; the powder caught, and the mine 
exploded. Had it been strongly charged with powder, many 
of those without might have suffered ; but the explosion was 
only powerful enough to blow out, in a lateral direction, a part 
of the wall just above the foundation, sufficient, however, to 
destroy the equipoise of the building. Then amid a cloud of 
smoke, which began gradually to encircle the turret like a 
shroud, arising slowly from its base to its summit, it was 
seen to stagger and shake by all who had courage to look 
steadily at a sight so dreadful. Slowly, at first, the building 
inclined outwards, then rushed precipitately to its base, and 



3 8o 



WOODS